As the government tries to help people in the midst of rising costs, we’ve seen a big student loan forgiveness plan, a plan to continue the monthly Child Tax Credit payments, and now, lower-cost over-the-counter hearing aids.
If you’re among the 30 million Americans with hearing loss — and could use a hearing aid — this is big news because it makes these devices thousands of dollars cheaper.
When are over-the-counter hearing aids coming? How do you get these hearing aids? Are there any risks? How much will you save? We’ll tell you everything you need to know.
You’ll no longer need a prescription for hearing aids, making them about $2,000 cheaper.
As part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which was recently signed into law, over-the-counter hearing aids are a reality.
For the first time, you no longer need a doctor’s visit or a prescription to get hearing aids. Without those requirements, hearing aids that used to cost about $5,000 on average (after all the medical fees) will now cost around $3,000.
Over-the-counter hearing aids will be available nationwide starting October 2022.
Over-the-counter hearing aids were created for people who have mild to moderate hearing loss, but the hassle of doctors visits, prescriptions, and high costs have kept lots of would-be users from buying them.
But as of October 2022, you’ll be able to pick up any number of hearing aid models at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Kroger, and many other pharmacies across the country.
You still might want to get a (free) hearing test for best results.
With over-the-counter hearing aids, you can just walk into the store, buy a hearing aid, and begin using it — with no doctor, no prescription, and no hearing test.
Without the hearing test, though, some audiologists worry that the devices won’t be calibrated to each person’s ears. We’ve seen stats that 90% of people who have purchased over-the-counter hearing aids purchased the wrong type. At best, that’d be a less-than-ideal experience. At worst, it could cause damage.
There are plenty of free hearing tests available, especially for seniors — some even online! Just search “free hearing test” and the name of your city on Google to find out which nonprofits offer this service. And if you’re a Costco member, they do free hearing tests (and offer a $1,400 Kirkland Signature hearing aid).