AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Monday, you will be able to buy a hearing aid over the counter.

“With the new regulation, you could go to retail outlets, pharmacies, maybe even electronic stores and get an over-the-counter hearing aid,” said ENT surgeon Dr. Sreek Cheruku.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued regulations to the law passed by Congress to help millions of people suffering from mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

“Hearing loss is one of the more chronic conditions, it’s actually third most common after arthritis and heart disease,” Cheruku said.

Millions of Americans suffer from hearing loss. Cheruku said for decades, insurance companies did not cover the cost of a hearing aid.

“Eighty percent of people that would benefit from hearing aids go without hearing aids. That’s a statistic that remains today. Cost is a large part of that,” said Cheruku.

The move could change the market.

“The cost should come way down. The average cost of a hearing aid, it’s fitted through a doctor or audiology office, is over $2,300. That’s for one. These should be now in the several-hundred-a-pair up to maybe $1,000 a pair.”

But buyer beware.

“It’s very common in our clinic, a patient might try two or three different brands of hearing aids before they settled on the one that’s best for them,” said Cheruku, but the FDA did not mandate a return policy.

Cheruku said to start with a hearing test to make sure you actually need a hearing aid before you buy one.

“I am a physician, I still recommend somebody like a doctor look in your ear and make sure there’s no other conditions,” said Cheruku. “Hearing tests are almost always covered either by insurance, or you can get a lot of free hearing tests as part of a screening process.”

Cheruku suggested that you read the fine print before buying.

“The over-the-counter process is going to be user-driven. Meaning there’s no professional to hold your hand and help guide you. So, if you’re a senior and you’re not particularly tech-savvy, be careful. It is not going to be readily apparent what the differences between the devices are, because there’s going to be half a dozen varieties or more in the store.”

The new law could help make hearing devices more affordable and accessible than before.

“We do think some of the big brands are going to get in the space. I think Sony and Best Buy, for example, have a partnership. So we expect really high levels of quality and customer service,” said Cheruku.