ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Access to hearing aids will soon become easier and more cost-effective, thanks to long-awaited approval by the FDA which will allow Americans to buy hearing aids without a prescription. 

“First and foremost, we’re just excited that people have access that may have not had access prior,” said Dr. Gregory Horton of the Rochester Hearing and Speech Center.

Come fall, those who may experience issues with their hearing will be able to invest in hearing aids over-the-counter and at other retail locations.

Dr. Horton says it was an anticipated decision, and one that was delayed over the last few years. He says it’s important, however, for patients to continue to follow through with their research.

“The steps to adopting hearing aids and being fitted with a hearing aid are more complicated typically than just getting a new pair of eyeglasses where you throw them on and you walk out the door. It’s really the follow-up care that comes with working with a professional,” said Dr. Horton.

The move follows years of pressure from medical experts and advocates across the U-S to make the devices cheaper and easier to get.

Doctors stress the aids are meant for those over 18, who experience mild to moderate hearing loss.

“I think it will open people’s eyes to start thinking about the process,” Chair of Communication Studies at RIT, Dr. Amanda Picioli, said. “If they feel this may be appropriate for them, then definitely give it a try and see if it works for them. I think this will open the door for a lot of people to at least give amplification a try if they’re on the fence about going to see someone.”

Those that are diagnosed with what is considered ‘severe’ hearing loss — will still require a prescription going forward. Doctors we spoke with stress while aids will be available over the counter, diagnostic evaluations with a professional are key.