The Food & Drug Administration just
cleared the way for hearing aids to be sold over the counter, and Best
Buy isn't wasting any time taking advantage of the new ruling.
The Minneapolis-based retailer says it intends to introduce a new experience aimed at those with hearing loss, which will open in 300 stores and include an online hearing assessment tool.
This retailer has sold personal sound amplification products, self-fitting hearing devices and TV amplifiers for years. But with the new FDA ruling, which applies to those with mild to moderate hearing loss, it can expand its offers. Best Buy says it plans to sell such brands as Lexie Hearing, Nuheara, Jabra Enhance Plus, Lucid Hearing fio and ENGAGE and Eargo 6.
It developed a hearing assessment tool with HearX, a tech partner, to help people pinpoint their specific level of hearing loss. Armed with those results, they can either shop online or in stores with the help of an associate.
It’s the latest step in Best Buy's plan to cater to an aging population.
In 2018, it paid $800 million for Great Call, maker of the Jitterbug cell phone, which it renamed Lively.
And last year, it spent nearly $400 million to scoop up Current Health, a remote monitoring platform. At the time, Best Buy execs say the deal is a precursor to a “holistic care ecosystem” for all healthcare needs.
At an industry conference last month, the company reiterated its plans to make tech that enables people to get better care in their own homes.
The FDA says the new rule may help millions of Americans save money, purchasing hearing aids directly without a medical exam, prescription or a fitting adjustment by an audiologist.
It estimates that close to 30 million people could benefit from the use of hearing aids.