Adults in the US can now purchase hearing aids straight off pharmacy shelves without needing a prescription, expanding access for those needing the equipment.
Walgreens drug stores have begun selling hearing aids for $799 a pair in stores and online, the White House said in a fact sheet. Similar hearing aids can cost upwards of $8,000.
One of the largest discount stores in the US, Walmart, is now selling hearing aids for as low as $199 a pair. The company says comparable options under a prescription would cost about $5,000.
President Joe Biden shared the news — which was part of an executive order signed in July — via Twitter.
“Starting this week, we're making hearing aids available over the counter, so people don't have to pay for expensive visits to specialists,” he wrote.
“The [Food and Drug Administration] estimates this is going to save patients as much as $3,000 per pair.”
There are at least 30 million people in the US living with different levels of hearing loss.
Mr Biden's move greatly benefits those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, who were previously required to go to an audiologist for a costly exam to get a prescription. Even with a prescription, hearing devices were, for many, out of reach financially.
People with severe or profound hearing loss, however, will still need to consult with an audiologist as over-the-counter hearing aids may not meet their needs.