We get the following question from customers a lot: Are over the counter hearing aids legal? A few years ago, the answer would vary based on their address. As of 2017, over the counter hearing aids are easier to obtain across the nation. The Over The Counter Hearing Aid Act was introduced by Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The law was ultimately signed by President Trump in August of 2017.
Freedom of Choice
The biggest difference for people with mild to moderate hearing loss is that there is no longer a requirement to see an audiologist to get a hearing aid. This is significant for a few reasons. First, many people suffer mild to moderate hearing loss, but it typically takes a few years before they do something about it. The idea of seeking help is an impediment in itself, but the cost of a doctor’s visit further diminishes the desire to correct hearing. (Of course, if you have any kind of health issue and the means to do so, it’s usually best to visit a doctor.)
Next, this legislation gives consumers better choices. For a long-time hearing aid user, multiple visits to an audiologist won’t offer new information. And, instead of being constrained to the devices offered by the audiologist, there’s now a much bigger marketplace. Someone jumping into the world of hearing health today has lots of new options in front of them.
And finally, cost is always a factor. Considering that insurance doesn’t normally cover hearing aids, less expensive devices are practical. This new law allows people of all economic backgrounds the opportunity to get hearing help.
Less Red Tape
For the hearing aid industry, the new over the counter hearing aid law is a breath of fresh air. Manufacturers can now spend time innovating and developing more useful devices instead of worrying about 50 different states’ legal requirements. Currently, there are more over the counter hearing aid businesses than ever, and the number is growing. With a larger industry, innovation naturally follows. And, since the new law negates the need for a medical waiver, it’s easier than ever for people to address a pervasive health issue and improve their quality of life.
For more information on how hearing works, hearing loss, or hearing aids, check out the following resources: