Walmart announced Monday that customers will be able to buy over-the-counter hearing aids without the need for a prescription or a medical exam from a doctor.
This move follows a US Food and Drug Administration announcement in August of a long-awaited rule amendment about hearing aids.
People with mild to moderate hearing loss can now buy hearing aids online or in a shop instead of having to get a prescription.
Walmart customers 18 years old and older in the US can purchase OTC hearing aids without having to undergo a medical exam or adjust their fitting.
Walmart (WMT), which stated that the prices of hearing aids range from $199-$999 per pair, includes brands like Lexie powered By Bose (priced between $849 and $999) or HearX (priced between $199 and $299).
Walmart’s chief medical officer, Dr. John Wigneswaran stated in a statement that OTC hearing aids are available to everyone, even if they seem small.
According to the retailer, OTC hearing aids can be purchased on Walmart.com or in Walmart Vision Centers located in Colorado, Michigan and Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
They will soon be available at additional Walmart Vision Centers across the country. The company has more than 3,000 Vision Centers in the country.
One in eight Americans aged 12 years and older has hearing loss in one or both of their ears. The rate rises with age. Hearing loss affects 25% of those aged 65-74 and 50% by age 75.
According to the FDA, its rule change would increase accessibility and make hearing aids more affordable in the United States.
According to the agency, savings of approximately $2,800 per pair could be realized by adopting the new rule. Hearing aids are expensive and not covered by most private insurance policies.
According to a 2020 study in JAMA, the average person spends at least $4,000 on devices for each ear.