According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss. But only about 20% of people who would benefit from a hearing aid use one.
Traditionally, they were expensive. A typical pair of hearing aids in the United States costs between $2,000 and $8,000, including fitting fees and aftercare services. But a recent Food and Drug Administration decision allowing the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids could improve access for millions of people.
The new devices, aimed at adults with mild to moderate hearing loss, cost as little as $199 and can be purchased at retailers such as Best Buy, SVC and walmart.
Starkey, one of the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturers, also announced that it is planning an over-the-counter offering. His device, called “Start Hearing One”, will be released in late 2022 and will cost $899 a pair.
Stavros Basseas, co-founder and chief technology officer of manufacturer Sound World Solutions, said: “The hope is that in this country the new category will have a huge effect on lowering prices, not just for hearing aids in free sale. , which will be weak, but also for traditional hearing aids.”
Over-the-counter hearing aids could help demographics beyond America’s aging population. With more and more people connected to their smartphones to listen to music and watch videos, hearing loss affects younger generations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 American teenagers suffers from measurable hearing loss, likely the result of excessive noise exposure.
So why are hearing aids so expensive and what impact will over-the-counter devices have on people with hearing loss?
Watch the video to learn more.