In 2017 Congress passed legislation that would let anyone buy hearing aids approved by the Food and Drug Administration without a prescription from an audiologist, Shira Ovide reports in The New York Times.
The F.D.A. has missed a deadline to release draft guidelines for this new category, but when that happens, it’s likely tech companies will come up with new products.
You can already buy a hearing helper — they can’t legally be called hearing aids — without a prescription. These devices are called personal sound amplification products or PSAPs, and they vary wildly in quality from excellent to junk. But when shopping for them, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Nicholas Reed, director of audiology at the Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, told Ovide that the F.D.A. process should provide a path for the best PSAPs to be approved as official over-the-counter hearing aids. His research has found that some hearing helpers for $350 or less were almost as good as prescription hearing aids for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.