Today’s Solutions: November 28, 2023

A new policy from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to make hearing aids more accessible and affordable in the US. The new policy will make hearing devices available over-the-counter as early as next fall.

Hearing aids currently cost more than $5,000 a pair and are not usually covered by Medicare or other insurers. The added cost of visiting an audiologist or hearing aid specialist makes these devices highly unaffordable for many who experience hearing loss.

According to data collected in the National Health Interview Survey, among adults over 70 who experience hearing loss, only one in three has ever tried a hearing aid. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that counties with the largest number of older adults with hearing loss also have the lowest numbers of audiologists, as these doctors generally prefer to practice in younger, wealthier areas.

The FDA was ordered to create a “basic” hearing aid design that could be purchased without a prescription or a doctor’s visit in 2015. After the passage of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, the department was forced to finally take action on the issue. The hope is that by lowering barriers to market, more companies will design devices, therefore lowering the cost of these essential medical supplies.

Although some medical professionals have expressed concern that the new regulations would result in low-quality products on the market, the FDA notes that their rigorous regulation policies will ensure that over-the-counter products are still high quality. “Today’s move by FDA takes us one step closer to the goal of making hearing aids more accessible and affordable for the tens of millions of people who experience mild to moderate hearing loss,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

The EU makes historic decision to stop plastic waste exports to poor countries

The European Union took an important step toward reducing plastic pollution by agreeing to stop exporting waste plastic to non-OECD countries. This landmark decision, ...

Read More

Recovering from family gatherings: your essential guide to recharge and reset

A flurry of family visits might leave you reeling and wondering, "What just happened?" The intensity of spending time with family may be emotionally ...

Read More

How your body and mind can benefit from dark chocolate

For more than 3,000 years, chocolate has been used for its healing properties. Flash forward to today, and scientists are finding scientific evidence for ...

Read More

World’s first hydrogen-powered cargo vessel to set sail in Paris this year

In a world's first, a commercial hydrogen-powered cargo vessel will make its maiden voyage later this year. Developed by French shipowner Compagnie Fluvial Transport ...

Read More