: Walmart to begin selling hearing aids

United States

Walmart Inc. WMT, +0.72% is the latest retailer to begin selling hearing aids online and in its stores.

The retail giant said it will begin selling two brands of hearings aids on Monday: Lexie powered by Bose, a brand that costs $ 849 to $ 999, and HearX, which costs $ 199 to $ 299. Both brands were developed by HearX Group, a privately held startup based in Pretoria. The devices will be available online and in some vision centers, with plans to roll them out to all vision centers, Walmart said.

“Offering easy access to OTC hearing aids — something that seems quite small — is a solution that can improve our customer’s health outcomes and their ability to live better and healthier,” John Wigneswaran, Walmart’s chief medical officer, said in a news release.

Walmart does not offer fittings, hearing tests, or hearing screenings at the vision centers, though some of its health centers provide audiology services, according to a spokesperson for the company.

Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA, -0.72% is also selling hearing aids, specifically the Lexie Lumen hearing aids developed by HearX Group, following a Food and Drug Administration decision in August that allows over-the-counter sales of the devices to begin on Monday.

Back in August, when the FDA finalized the rule, President Joe Biden said the regulatory change would bring “nearly $ 3,000 in savings to American families for a pair of hearing aids and giving people more choices to improve their health and well-being.” (Biden had issued an executive order in 2021 that asked the FDA to address over-the-counter sales of hearing aids, which can cost from $ 1,000 to $ 4,000 per ear.)

Sony Group Corp. 6758, +1.12% has also developed hearing aids for the new over-the-counter market in the U.S. through a partnership with WS Audiology Denmark A/S, a privately held hearing-aid manufacturer. The first devices to come out of the partnership cost $ 999.99 and $ 1,299.99 and will be available on Sony’s website. The CRE-C10 hearing aids — the less expensive option — will also be sold by Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +6.45% and Best Buy Co. Inc. BBY, +3.54%, according to a spokesperson for Sony.