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NACDS-backed federal action expanding patient access to O-T-C hearing aids now in effect

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(Left to right): U.S. Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Dr. Robert Califf; Walgreens pharmacist Chuckwuma ‘Chuks’ Onwuka; U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra; and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) visit a Walgreens pharmacy in Washington, D.C., on October 19, 2022, as hearing aids go over the counter for the first time.

ARLINGTON, Va. American adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss have the ability to buy hearing aids on an over-the-counter basis at retailers across the country.  

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores-backed move, which will greatly enhance patients’ access to hearing aids, comes out of a final rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration in mid-August. 

“This critical move by the FDA – now in effect – further validates the tremendous role of the pharmacy in healthcare delivery, and in providing Americans with consumer-empowered, total health and wellness solutions,” said NACDS president and CEO Steven  Anderson. “Pharmacies remain the most accessible, and among the most trusted, health and wellness destinations — located within five miles of 90 percent of Americans. Pharmacies are ideally positioned to help expand access to hearing aid care, and to meet patients’ overall needs.” 

 NACDS previously commented to the FDA in support of swift finalization of the OTC hearing aids rule. 

 The Association’s comments to the FDA in August 2021 and January 2022 urged swift action and timely improvements to hearing aid access across the nation, in order to foster meaningful impacts for the 37.5 million American adults who suffer from hearing loss. 

 NACDS noted, “Better access at frequently visited retail outlets and pharmacies can help combat some of the known barriers to uptake including cost and stigma, and the promise of enhanced, direct access options for OTC hearing aids should not be unfairly delayed any longer.” 

 Most recently, in June, NACDS lauded the advancement of a provision in the FDA user fee bill which ultimately expedited the FDA’s finalization of the rule. 


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