Headline RoundupAugust 16th, 2022

FDA Finalizes Rule to Allow Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

AllSides Summary

The FDA finalized new rules on Tuesday that will allow people over the age of 18 with mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase hearing aids without a prescription. 

The FDA was directed to allow some over-the-counter hearing aids by the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, which was introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and signed into law by former President Donald Trump. However, it took the agency years to work out the details of the new rules, including how they would interact with state laws. A 2021 executive order by President Joe Biden called on the FDA to set a 120-day deadline for proposing new rules, which the agency met.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are expected to arrive online and in stores by mid-October, 60 days after the new rules are registered. An FDA news release said the regulations were designed to assure customers of “safety and effectiveness” while “fostering innovation and competition.”

Coverage was mostly balanced across the spectrum. Many articles highlighted consumers’ potential savings on hearing aids, which can cost thousands of dollars per pair and are often not covered by insurance. Coverage in The Verge (Lean Left bias) stood out by highlighting concerns from audiologists and saying tech companies would “commoditize” the hearing aid industry.

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