People who have hearing loss could soon buy hearing aids without having to have an exam, prescription or special fitting first.
Driving the news headlines: In a move years in the making, the FDA on Tuesday issued your final rule allowing over-the-counter sales of hearing aids to adults with mild or moderate hearing loss. Kids and the ones with serious hearing loss will still require a prescription.
- They might become available the moment October once the rule takes effect.
Who wins with this particular rule?
- Patients with hearing loss: This change officially creates a fresh group of hearing aid that’s likely to reach a far broader audience and also require previously avoided hearing aids because of cost and stigma. It is also likely to shake up prices and spur innovation over the market.
- Gadgets manufacturers: This can allow more companies to go right into a space now dominated by specialty companies like ReSound, Sonova and William Demant, wrote Cowen analyst Eric Assaraf.
- Biden and the Dems: We‘re not attempting to be cynical. But together with the healthcare wins in the Inflation Reduction Act, the timing of the five years after Congress gave its blessing to the theory and significantly less than 90 days prior to the midterms just so happens to work through ideal for vulnerable Democrats.
- Manufacturers/hearing care: As Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said, this might “lower prices” for consumers and bring about “more competition” that could hurt underneath type of incumbents. Early estimates say consumers who purchase hearing supports this category could save $2,800 per pair.
- Patients with hearing loss: Industry groups, just like the Hearing Industries Association, have backed this move with a caveat, arguing consumers who skip seeing a health care provider for hearing trouble might not get timely diagnosis and treatment for much more serious problems.
Listen in: Axios Today podcast host Niala Boodhoo and Axios’ Tina Reed discuss OTC hearing aids.