For the very first time, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS customers will be able to buy over-the-counter hearing aids without a prescription.
In the coming days, Best Buy and Hy-Vee customers will be able to do the same.
This decision comes months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a landmark decision, improving access to hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss by eliminating the need for a medical exam, prescription or adjustment by an audiologist. , which officials say “could in turn reduce costs for millions of Americans.”
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Starting Monday, Walmart customers in the U.S. ages 18 and older with such hearing impairments can choose from an assortment of hearing aids online and in-store at Walmart Vision Centers in Colorado, Michigan. , Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, the Arkansas-based company announced on Monday.
They are also available at over 470 Sam’s Club Hearing Aid Centers. Walmart said the products will also be available at other Walmart vision centers nationwide “soon”, although it did not specify an exact date.
The company said its hearing aid options will retail for prices ranging from $199 to $999 per pair. Walmart also offers customers Affirm’s pay-over-time options.
Meanwhile, Walgreens also began selling hearing aids in stores nationwide and online at around $800 a pair, the White House said Monday.
In the same way, CVS started selling over-the-counter hearing aids online “with various model and price options,” according to the administration. Starting next month, the hearing aids will also be available at select CVS pharmacies.
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“Hearing aids are now on store shelves across the country, for thousands of dollars less than they once cost,” the White House said in a statement.
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In the coming days, Best Buy will begin offering nearly 20 different hearing aids online, according to the Biden administration. By the end of the month, it will also offer such products in nearly 300 stores across the country costing between $200 and $3,000.
Hy-Vee will sell over-the-counter hearing aids online and in 34 locations across Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin starting this week. It will offer four models ranging in price from $499.99 to nearly $1,000.
The hearing aids will be available in 100 locations by the end of the year.
In August, federal authorities created a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, allowing consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss buy hearing aids in stores or online without a medical exam, prescription or adjustment by an audiologist.
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Brian Deese, White House economic adviser, previously noted that “the requirement to consult a specialist was not only a burden and an annoyance for many consumers, but actually created a competitive barrier to hall”.
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Deese cited government estimates that Americans could potentially save up to $2,800 per pair. However, FDA officials cautioned against predicting how big or how quickly the savings could come, noting that it will all depend on when manufacturers launch the products and how they price them. .
Yet this new regulatory category will provide “convenient access to a range of safe, effective and affordable hearing aids at their neighborhood store or online,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf previously said.
The FDA said nearly 30 million adults in the United States can benefit from hearing aids.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.