Best Buy to sell OTC hearing aids after FDA regulations

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

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

Best Buy announced Wednesday that it will offer an expanded line of hearing products and services this fall after federal regulators announced they would begin allowing over-the-counter hearing aids to be sold.

In the fall, the Minneapolis-based company said 300 of its more than 1,000 stores will have hearing solution displays with about 10 hearing aids available in each. The electronics retailer said it had already started offering an online hearing assessment tool.

Best Buy’s push comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week cleared sales of over-the-counter hearing aids, which the agency says will help people with mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase devices from retailers without the need for a medical exam, prescription, or fitting adjustment. The FDA will still regulate the quality of OTC devices, which it says could be available as early as mid-October when the rule takes effect.

Hearing aids for severe hearing impairments or people under the age of 18 always require a prescription.

The FDA said the new rule should reduce the cost of hearing aids. Nearly 30 million adults in the United States could benefit from hearing aids, according to the agency.

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

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

“Our expanded hearing collection and new in-store experience will make it easy for customers to find a hearing loss solution from the brands they trust,” Frank Bedo, category manager at Best Buy, said in a statement. .

Best Buy was down about 2% in premarket trading.

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