White House marks rollout of over-the-counter hearing aids at retailers nationwide

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The White House on Monday marked the rollout of hearing aids at retailers such as Walgreens, CVS and Walmart following steps from the Biden administration to allow them to be sold over the counter.

On Monday, Walgreens started selling hearing aids in stores and online for $799 a pair, CVS started selling them online at different price points, and Walmart started selling them at more than 1,000 vision centers in the retailer’s stores and 474 Sam’s Club locations for between $199 and $999 per pair.

Also this week, Best Buy will offer nearly 20 hearing devices online and will offer hearing aids at nearly 300 stores by the end of the month for as low as $200. Additionally, Hy-Vee will sell them online and in 34 locations, with plans to sell them at 100 locations by the end of the year.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August finalized a rule allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter and said that they could be available as early as mid-October in retail and drug stores. The rule is part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which he issued in July 2021.

Congress passed legislation on over-the-counter hearing aids in 2017, but it was not fully implemented until the FDA rule. The rule allows people with mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase hearing aids over the counter without the need for a medical exam, prescription or fitting adjustment.

The FDA estimates that the rule could lower average costs by as much as $3,000 per pair of hearing aids, which could impact nearly 30 million Americans with hearing loss, including nearly 10 million adults under age 60.

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