Report: CVS Planning to Exit Hearing Business

CVS

Pharmacy giants closing its roughly 30 hearing centers

After years as an industry leader, CVS has decided to close its roughly 30 hearing centers in the wake of a decision to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter.

Hearing Health & Technology Matters first reported that CVS spokeswoman Erin Pensa confirmed the closures to CNBC and said the company made the decision to close the centers because the hearing care market has evolved since CVS started piloting audiology services in 2015.

Next year, the FDA is introducing regulations to allow for over-the-counter hearing aid sales, eliminating the need for CVS to dedicate space in stores for audiologists to conduct hearing tests and fit people for the devices.

“The FDA is preparing to approve lower-cost, over-the-counter hearing devices in the near future, and new technology is emerging to enable self-serve hearing testing and care,” Pensa said.

Current guidelines require individuals to undergo a hearing test in order to purchase hearing aids, but a 2017 Congress ruling required the FDA to make the device available over the counter in an attempt to make the industry more accessible and the equipment more affordable.

No FDA-approved hearing aids are yet available over the counter, but clearly, the impact upon the industry won’t wait.

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