Retailers like Best Buy are already flocking to join drugstores in selling hearing aids this fall

News that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will soon allow the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids is leading to an influx of new competitors – including retailers looking to expand further into the healthcare space like Best Buy. – in what promises to be a billion-dollar multi-market.

Already, retailers led by Walgreens, CVS Health, Walmart and Amazon have expanded into health care with hundreds of additional health items and are expected to sell over-the-counter hearing aids this fall as well under new FDA rules. . CVS, Walgreens and Walmart have in-person doctors and nurse practitioners in their stores, and Amazon is spending nearly $4 billion on One Medical, which will take the online retailer deeper into in-person healthcare.

But the Cut Inflation Act signed into law this week by President Biden that boosts health insurance coverage for more Americans under the Affordable Care Act, along with the FDA’s decision to allow the sale of hearing aids to adults without a prescription, further opens up a potentially huge market for such medical devices.

“This fall, Best Buy is launching a new experience for hearing aids, making it more convenient than ever for the millions of Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss to get the products and support they need,” said Best Buy said in a statement Wednesday morning. . “The new experience will include an expanded collection of hearing aids, an in-store experience at over 300 stores, and a new online hearing assessment tool.”

The cost of hearing aids, pegged at $5,000 by some estimates that include consultation with physicians and audiologists, has discouraged a market of millions of Americans from purchasing these medical devices.

The new FDA rule will allow people with mild to moderate hearing loss to buy hearing aids online and in retail stores as early as October. The FDA has estimated that about 30 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, but only about one-fifth receive treatment that includes hearing aids.

“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,” said Frank Bedo, category manager for Best Buy. “Our customers come to us for quality products and technology expertise, and this fall we will be better able to help them find the right solutions specific to their needs.”

Although Best Buy did not disclose pricing for the hearing aids in its announcement Wednesday, the cost of hearing aids for Americans is expected to drop dramatically with a massive influx of retailers selling them in stores and online. And the market includes new entrants like Best Buy who are touting their expertise in electronics to help this new market of customers.

“The rule is expected to lower the cost of hearing aids, which will further the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of expanding access to high-quality health care and lowering health care costs for the public. American,” the FDA said earlier this week. “It is designed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of OTC hearing aids, while promoting innovation and competition in the hearing aid technology market.”

Some analysts have said new market entrants could also bring promising technologies that could change the market and improve patient care and health outcomes.

“This is not the first time that we have offered hearing solutions; for years, we’ve had a collection of personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), self-adjusting hearing aids, TV amplifiers, hearing protection devices and other accessories,” said Best Buy. . “This fall, the collection will also include for the first time ever the new category of FDA-regulated over-the-counter hearing aids to help with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss from some of the most trusted brands in the industry. Products available in the experience will include Lexie Hearing, Nuheara, Jabra Enhance Plus, Lucid Hearing fio and ENGAGE, Eargo 6, and more.

Meanwhile, more established drugstore chains and retail healthcare companies say they will also be ready to roll out hearing aids and related products this fall.

“Walgreens will offer over-the-counter hearing aids later this year nationwide, both in-store and online,” Walgreens said in a statement. “We are committed to providing consumers with convenient access to healthcare solutions and services, and we look forward to bringing consumers high-quality hearing aids straight from their neighborhood Walgreens.”

About Renee Williams

Check Also

Study: Food Retailers See Potential Digital Sales Missing Them

Food retailers can do more to optimize the digital grocery experience for customers and get …