ST. LOUIS — By this fall, hearing aids will be cheaper and more accessible to millions of Americans after the FDA made a landmark decision on Tuesday.
Since 2017, the FDA has been working to make hearing aids available for purchase over the counter.
After 32 years on the road as a truck driver, Tom Kalil has lost hearing in his left ear and is hard of hearing in his right ear.
He expects he will need a hearing aid within the next few years. This decision means he won't need multiple doctors appointments or a prescription to maintain his hearing.
A pair of hearing aids costs $7,000 without insurance according to The National Council on Aging. The FDA's decision could save people $2,800.
Dr. Amanda Ortmann leads the audiology department at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Ortmann said people who have mild to moderate hearing loss will greatly benefit from this decision. 30 million Americans have reported mild to moderate hearing loss. 1 in 5 have sought care according to the FDA.
"There's going to be a lot of advertising that will take place," Ortmann said. "They will want to get the word out that they have these products. it can be overwhelming."
Orttman has battled hearing loss her entire life and is excited more people will get necessary healthcare.
Kalil is happy the government is helping him enjoy retirement.
"I'm glad the government helped out seniors, the folks who have worked their entire lives," Kalil said.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are only available for adults 18 and older.
The FDA is working with manufacturers to make sure devices meet performance standards.