UW Med: Over-the-counter hearing aids available now

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Dr. Cliff Hume, UW Medicine
As of Monday, October 17, 2022, hearing aids are available for purchase without a prescription for the first time in the United States. 

Dr. Cliff Hume, an otolaryngologist with UW Medicine, says these aids are designed for people who have untreated, mild challenges with hearing.

“If you look at the American population, there are probably 40 to 50 million people with hearing loss, and only about a fifth of those use hearing aids,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a ruling in August to allow the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids.  This action finalized congressional legislation from 2017 that called for broader availability of the devices. 

Several major retailers have announced they will sell the devices, at a range of $199-$799 per pair. OTC hearing aids could provide a stepping stone to clinical care for people who find that store-bought aids don’t solve their untreated hearing difficulties, 

Hume said. “We know that hearing loss affects things like cognitive decline, ability to interact socially, performance at work, depression — things that impact your health on a daily basis. Not only yourself, but also your family.”

Dr. Hume explains more in this YouTube video


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