Accessing new over-the-counter hearing aids

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Relief is coming soon for those with hearing issues as some hearing aids will be sold over-the-counter without a prescription, following a historic FDA ruling earlier this month.

The relief comes as hearing devices can cost up to $6,000 per ear and most insurance providers don’t cover the costs or the hearing exams. For example, on the official Medicare website, it’s stated, “Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids,” meaning the costs have to come out of pocket. Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer some extra benefits that Medicare, alone, doesn’t.

OTC hearing aids are meant to be a more accessible and inexpensive alternative for more than 30 million people over the age of 18 who may experience mild-to-moderate hearing loss, but the aids may not be for everyone.

“If you can, I highly recommend that you have this conversation with your primary care provider, that way you both can decide if this is the route that you need to go or do you need further evaluation from someone else like an audiologist or even an ear, nose and throat doctor,” said Charissa Geyer, a medical doctor for specialty care services at Optum New Mexico.

Hearing loss is irreversible so doctors recommend preventative measures, such as regularly getting your hearing checked.

It’s still unclear how much these OTC hearing aids will cost but you won’t need a prescription or a medical exam to buy them which can save you some money. By mid-October, they’re expected to hit the shelves at pharmacies, retail stores and even online.