FDA recommends over-the-counter sale of hearing aids

The Food and Drug Administration proposes new rules that would remove barriers to over-the-counter sales of hearing aids, which are currently available only with expensive hearing aids and prescription. The hearing aids were initially…

FDA recommends over-the-counter sale of hearing aids

The Food and Drug Administration proposes new rules that would remove barriers to over-the-counter sales of hearing aids, which are currently available only with expensive hearing aids and prescription. The hearing aids were initially developed and manufactured in response to World War II and introduced by volunteer audiologist Jaime Contreras, who made his name as a motivational speaker.

I saw Jamie Contreras: Immigrants in America There’s hardly a day when I don’t hear him give a speech. The last time was at noon this afternoon at a gathering of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Jamie Contreras is an immigrant from Mexico, and the most charismatic of the country’s vocal leaders on the subject of immigration reform, especially the dreamers. Watching a man so dedicated to his community and country get up and give a speech is something I aspire to do myself one day. Aisha Abdel-Rahman

Erica B. Allen

Erica B. Allen

Erica B. Allen

The change would allow popular and affordable online-only hearing aid companies to sell them over the counter. Currently, they must be purchased from approved medical device manufacturers, or through doctors or hospitals.

Until now, that obstacle-proof path has been the only option for consumers, according to the FDA, which said there are few trusted online providers of hearing aids, many of which are operated by the largest medical device manufacturers. The number of U.S. sites selling online hearing aids increased 70 percent between 2006 and 2011, the FDA said.

You can see a timeline of the hearing aid development process here.

Follow the FDA’s proposal here, or read the proposal’s four-page summary here.

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