FDA decision to allow over-the-counter hearing loss technology will be a catalyst for innovation

The hearing loss market has long been dominated by a handful of legacy players with little incentive to innovate due to outdated regulations and social stigma. But a new ruling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could revolutionize the market by driving competition, giving startups a greater chance at success in this sector.

On Monday, the FDA announced that hearing aids and other hearing technology can now be sold over the counter. This ends a system that mandated a prescription, which resulted in high costs due to low competition — not to mention being a time-consuming and hard-to-navigate endeavor for patients. Founders and insiders in the audiology field think this decision will be a catalyst to bring better products and care to those with hearing loss.

Nicholas Reed, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and a researcher on the intersection of audiology and public health, said this ruling will be monumental in driving innovation in the space.