Hearing aids could be big business -- and Big Tech is all ears
The Hustle

Hearing aids could be big business — and Big Tech is all ears

The FDA introduced a rule that would allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, and Big Tech wants in on the action.

Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When you think about hearing aids, you probably picture the traditional beige variety that wraps around the ear. Thanks to a new rule proposed by the FDA, that could be changing soon.

The rule would allow consumers to purchase hearing aids over the counter without a prescription, per The New York Times.

Hearing loss is a widespread problem

Around 38m adults in the US experience some degree of hearing loss, and the vast majority don’t use hearing aids. This is likely due to the hurdles to getting them:

The new rule would help make hearing aids more accessible and drive competition in the market, which would lower the cost.

While those with severe hearing loss will still need prescription devices…

… mild hearing loss is an untapped market, with only 10% penetration today. Tech companies are already waiting in the wings:

Participation from high-quality hardware manufacturers could also raise the baseline for nonprescription hearing products (many existing options are poor quality).

The rule could lead to ancillary benefits

Beyond helping those with hearing loss, other benefits include:

Given Big Tech’s seemingly endless struggle against bad press, hearing loss is one market that could be a win-win for all parties.

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