SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The FDA is making it easier for the hearing impaired to get a hearing aid, now no longer requiring a prescription.

“It’s not a surprise to audiologists. I mean we’ve known this has been coming for years,” said Dr. Caroline Zuck, audiologist with the Savannah speech and hearing center.

The new FDA rule applying to adults 18 and older with mild to moderate hearing loss, is completely changing the way those adults can access hearing aids.

“So typically, people would schedule an appointment with an audiologist and come in for an evaluation,” Zuck said. “We would discuss options, fit hearing aids. Or perhaps monitor hearing if they weren’t interested in hearing aids or didn’t need them at that point.”

The new rule would mean bypassing the hearing test required for a hearing aid prescription. 

“I think having hearing aids more readily available for people with a mild hearing loss or may who have otherwise not come into the office is a good thing,” Zuck said.

Studies done by Healthy Hearing estimate that about 40 million Americans aged 20 to 69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

Zuck said the new rule could specifically help a lot of residents in the Hostess City. 

“There’s a large population of seniors who need hearing aids,” Zuck said. “A lot of the veterans coming back from wars and that type of thing have hearing loss from the noise exposure. So, I think the impact could certainly affect a lot of people in the area.”

Although hearing aids will now be more easily accessible, Zuck said there are still arguments that support getting a doctor involved.

“There’s a risk that people may fit hearing aids over underlying medical issues or overestimate their hearing loss or underestimate their hearing loss, you wouldn’t get a proper fit with the hearing aid,” Zuck said.