Sonny announced Tuesday that it will sell over-the-counter hearing aids in partnership with WS Audiology, a hearing aid manufacturer. One hearing aid is already in development.
More details about the hearing aid will be available closer to its launch, according to the companies’ press release. But Sony’s move stamps the start of a new era that will further roughly 30 million American adults who might benefit from a hearing aid. It will also allow more companies to enter the health care market.. In August, the US Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for hearing aids to be sold over the counter without a prescription, which is for the
The FDA’s rule will go into effect on Oct. 17, and some companies’ hearing aids will be available at stores and pharmacies as soon as next month. Best Buy, for example, said it’s expanding its hearing device collection to include over-the-counter hearing aids.
“Through the partnership, Sony and WSA will combine their respective technological and medical expertise to create solutions that will shape this new field,” Sony and WSA said in the release.
Over-the-counter hearing aids will be available to people with “perceived” mild or moderate hearing loss, the FDA says. Tricia Ashby-Scabis, senior director of audiology practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, told CNET last month that the people who might benefit most from these over-the-counter hearing aids are those who are just beginning to lose their hearing (they’ve started to notice people sound like they’re mumbling all the time, or they have a hard time listening to higher-pitched voices, for example).
But not everyone is completely on board with the merging market of technology companies into health care. Brandon Sawalich, president of hearing aids manufacturer Starkey, previously told CNET that a hearing aid is “not a consumer electronic device.”
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.