Public Health

Best Buy to sell OTC hearing aid devices after FDA regulation

Black Friday shoppers leave a Best Buy store in Washington, DC, on November 26, 20221.

Nicholas comb | AFP | Getty Images

Best Buy said Wednesday that it will offer an expanded collection of hearing products and services this fall after federal regulators said they would begin allowing sales of over-the-counter hearing devices.

By fall, the Richfield, Minnesota-based company said 300 of its more than 1,000 stores will have hearing solutions displays with about 10 hearing devices available at each. The electronic products retailer said it has already started offering an online hearing assessment tool.

The push by Best Buy comes after the US Food and Drug Administration this week greenlit sales of over-the-counter hearing devices, which the agency said will let people with mild to moderate hearing loss buy devices from retailers without needing a medical exam, prescription , or fitting adjustment. The FDA will still regulate the quality of the OTC devices, which it said could be available as early as mid-October when the rule takes effect.

Hearing aids that are intended for severe hearing impairment or for people younger than 18 still require prescriptions.

The FDA said the new rule is expected to lower the cost of hearing aids. Nearly 30 million adults in the US could benefit from hearing aids, according to the agency.

Best Buy has sold hearing devices including personal sound amplification products, TV amplifiers and hearing protection devices, but the new category of OTC devices opens the door for new products.

Customers will be able to use health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts to purchase devices. Best Buy recommends checking with insurance providers to confirm the devices are covered.

“Our expansion of the hearing collection and new store experience will let customers easily find a hearing loss solution from brands they trust,” said Frank Bedo, category officer at Best Buy, in a statement.

Best Buy was down 3% in afternoon trading.

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