It may take two to three years for the Food and Drug Administration to establish safety, effectiveness and labeling standards, but the cost of hearing aids will eventually be much lower, around $300 or less per ear.
This lowered cost is due to the F.D.A. Reauthorization Act of 2017 which became law in August and includes a provision for selling hearing aids over the counter to adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. Meanwhile, hearing aids remain expensive, costing anywhere from $900 to $3,500 per ear as companies continue to invest in improvements, including a highly trained audiologist. Barbara Kelley, executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America reports that there is a bill before Congress that would require Medicare to cover the cost of hearing aids. However, right now, eighty percent of people who could benefit from a hearing aid don’t get one because of cost or access to care.
Research has shown that hearing problems can have serious health consequences, leading to falls, cognitive problems, depression and social isolation. Other risks connected to safety include not hearing a doorbell, a home smoke alarm, or a car coming down the block.
As hearing aids become available over the counter, it is suggested that people see an audiologist before buying them as a hearing problem might be caused by something that a hearing aid wouldn’t address.