Over-the-counter hearing aids expected this fall in U.S.

Millions of Americans will be able to buy hearing aids without a prescription later this fall, under a long-awaited rule finalized Tuesday.

The devices are intended for adults with mild to moderate hearing problems. The FDA estimates that nearly 30 million adults could potentially benefit from a hearing aid, though only about one-fifth of people with hearing problems currently use one.

Video Transcript

BARBARA KELLY The news today that the Food and Drug Administration has released the final rules for the over-the-counter hearing aids, and this means that the market can finally open up. 80% of people who could benefit from a hearing aid don't get one. And the reason, again, is access to care, stigma. People still associate it with, it's something that has to do with aging, and they don't want to deal with it. And sometimes cost is also a barrier.

GLENDA GREER: I actually waited almost seven years before it became such a significant issue with my job, sitting in meetings, when I couldn't hear what everyone was saying.