Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are finally hitting store shelves this week, following approval in August by the Food and Drug Administration. Instead of paying several thousand dollars for a pair of doctor-prescribed hearing aids, consumers now can save money by buying them online and at retail stores.
About 37.5 million American adults have some hearing problems, but only about one-fifth of people who would benefit from a hearing aid use one, according to the FDA. High costs, lack of access and social stigma prevent some people from using hearing aids, the FDA said. The new OTC models are meant to make it easier for people with hearing loss to get help.