Words by Smiley Team
People with disabilities are often underrepresented or left to the margins – and, according to the CDC, nearly 26 percent of all adults in the US live with some form of disability.
But things are going to become a little easier soon for those that struggle with hearing disabilities.
Starting in October 2022, adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment will be able to buy hearing aids directly from stores, pharmacies, and online retailers.
Previously anyone seeking a hearing aid needed a prescription to get a device, but a new rule from the FDA creates a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, which the Biden administration says will make the devices more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans.
The ruling only applies to those 18 or older with mild to moderate hearing impairment meaning that those under 18 or with a severe hearing impairment will still require a prescription, and the hearing aids available will only apply to certain air-conduction hearing aids.
It will open the accessibility to the device while allowing them to be produced for much cheaper with the Biden administration estimating that this may lower the price of hearing aids by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
“Reducing health care costs in America has been a priority of mine since Day One and this rule is expected to help us achieve quality, affordable health care access for millions of Americans in need,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Today’s action by the FDA represents a significant milestone in making hearing aids more cost-effective and accessible.”
Beyond the financial incentive, the move is intended to bypass a lot of the red tape that comes with acquiring a medical device prescription.
DONATE: The Hearing Loss Association of America is an organization that helps support those that deal with hearing loss. Consider donating.
SUPPORT: Look to educate yourself on the things that people with disabilities go through on a daily basis.