June 09, 2017

Wicked Local Medford: Over-the-counter hearing aids could be coming

Walk into any drug store and you'll see a rack of cheap reading glasses available to buy without a prescription.

While an over-the-counter product is an option for some living with farsightedness, there is no approved inexpensive over-the-counter equivalent for those living with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.


The situation could change under pending legislation in Congress. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Joe Kennedy III, both Massachusetts Democrats, introduced legislation that would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create regulations for a new category of hearing aids that could be sold over the counter and online, without a prescription.


"Allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter will help bring down costs and expand consumer choices so that millions more Americans can find affordable hearing aids," Warren said in a statement. "This bill will loosen up outdated regulations and, with the right protections in place, let the market bring great products to Massachusetts residents at far lower costs."