Listening to aids are actually obtainable over-the-counter at Walgreens, CVS and Finest Purchase

Jennifer Nealon, marketing director at Hear Again America, holds hearing aids they sell October 19, 2021 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Millions of Americans with hearing loss can now purchase hearing aids without a prescription or medical exam Walgreens, CV and best buy so the companies.

Walgreens began selling over-the-counter hearing aids online and in its stores nationwide Monday for $799 a pair. For comparison, the average cost of a pair of prescription hearing aids ranges from $2,000 to $8,000, according to the company.

CVS sells over-the-counter devices on its website ranging in price from $199 to $999. The drugstore chain will also be offering them at selected pharmacy locations from November.

According to the company, Best Buy offers 20 different over-the-counter hearing aids online ranging in price from $200 to $3,000. The electronics retailer will offer the devices in 300 stores across the country later this month.

And Hy-Vee, a supermarket chain, will offer four different hearing aids online and at 34 locations in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin this week. Prices range from $499 to $999. The devices should be available in 100 branches by the end of the year.

The Food and Drug Administration in August enacted a rule allowing the over-the-counter sale of hearing aids to adults ages 18 and older with mild to moderate hearing loss. People with severe hearing loss and children still need prescriptions for the devices.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order in 2021 directing the Departments of Health and Human Services and the FDA to develop a rule allowing over-the-counter sales of hearing aids. The White House announced the availability of the hearing aids on Monday.

About 30 million people in the US have hearing loss, but only about a fifth of those people have and use hearing aids, according to the FDA. Many people who could benefit from the devices either don’t have access to them due to cost concerns, while other people don’t use them due to perceived stigma, the agency said.

The FDA, in an analysis, estimated that over-the-counter hearing aids could save consumers about $1,438 because they are not bundled with costly professional services.

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