Over-the-counter hearing aids will be available to millions of Americans for the first time, officials said on Tuesday, in an effort to bring prices down from $5,000 (roughly Rs. 3,96,400). “Many Americans who have hearing loss cannot afford safe and effective and high-quality hearing aids,” US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters at a briefing.
The move, which will take effect in October, will reduce the cost of hearing aids by approximately $2,800 (roughly Rs. 2,21,900) per pair by eliminating the need to see a doctor or audiologist, Brian Dees said. White House National Economic Council.
This, he said, is what economists call a “barrier to entry” — regulation that prevents more firms from entering a market.
Currently, hearing aids cost $5,000 (approximately Rs. 3,96,400) per pair in the United States. Although a small portion of the cost can be offset by health insurance, this is in contrast to other advanced countries such as Britain, where devices are free on delivery.
Young children, as well as people with hearing loss, will still need a prescription. Hearing loss in adults is usually due to noise exposure and aging, but the causes in children can be more worrisome and require close medical evaluation.
US President Joe Biden, who called for the decision in an executive order issued last year, said in a statement, “This rule builds on my commitment to lower costs for American families… giving people more options to improve their health and well-being.”
According to the Food and Drug Administration, one in eight people in the United States age 12 or older — about 30 million people — has hearing loss in both ears.
The new rule applies to hearing aids that work by air conduction, bringing amplified sound into the ear canal where it travels through the eardrum and middle ear to the inner ear, where processed signals are sent to the brain.
People with more severe hearing loss may need bone conduction hearing aids that bypass the outer and middle ear.