Americans can now buy over-the-counter hearing aids at regular retail stores as part of a recent rule change from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Designed for adults with mild to moderate hearing problems, the cheaper devices can be purchased without a physical exam or prescription.
However, a Canadian hearing expert is flagging a potential problem with over-the-counter products.
Dr. Marshall Chasin, an audiologist and editor-in-chief of the Canadian Audiologist magazine. , told CTV’s Your Morning on Monday.
“We don’t want the device to cause future hearing loss because it’s too large, so we wanted to verify that.”
The US hopes to increase competition and lower costs with over-the-counter hearing aids, which can be sold online, in pharmacies or other retail stores.
“So if you run the end around the audiologist and go the more retail route, you probably won’t get me wrong, but you don’t have that (verification) phase,” says Chasin. .
The FDA estimates that nearly 30 million adults could benefit from hearing aids, but only about one-fifth of people with hearing problems use hearing aids.
Americans can pay more than $5,000 for a hearing aid and accessory, with limited coverage and Medicare covering diagnostic tests only.
In Canada, a hearing aid can cost around $1,000 or more. Statistics Canada reported in October 2021 that 38% of adults aged 20 to 79 have hearing loss.
See full interview with Dr. Marshall Chasin at the top of the article. With files from the Associated Press.