I've had a Walgreens within walking distance of my last three homes, and I could probably navigate the aisles of my local store with my eyes closed.
I find myself there at least once a month, and you probably do too. That's why the news that OTC hearing aids are coming to Walgreens is such a big deal.
On October 17th, 2022, Walgreens added over the counter hearing aids to 8,000+ retail locations.
That's significant because for the last 50+ years hearing aids have been tough to come by without a doctor's visit.
Walgreens has dabbled with hearing-related products in the form of cheap amplifiers, but the chain has never had access to quality hearing aids until now.
The timing coincides with a significant FDA ruling that set guidelines for hearing aids sold over the counter.
Hearing aids are still making their way to Walgreens stores, but by mid-November, most locations should have at least some options available.
I wanted to learn more about how this will work and had a chance to speak with the Walgreens team early this week. Here's what I learned.
Which OTC hearing aids are available at Walgreens?
As of right now, Walgreens is carrying one OTC hearing aid from Lexie. Walgreens will have Lexie Lumen behind-the-ear hearing aids available at nationwide locations.
I asked the Walgreens team about their plans, and they gave me a fairly general answer but said that increasing affordable options for consumers is a priority.
Are Lexie's hearing aids good? In short, yes.
Lexie Lumen hearing aids aren't the fanciest product on the market (no Bluetooth or rechargeable batteries), but they come with an award-winning app and lifetime follow-up care from a Lexie Expert. For the $799 price, Lexie is a solid option. You can read my full review of Lexie's hearing aids here.
Before heading to Walgreens, I would suggest a review of Lexie's full lineup of products on their website. You'll see Lexie Lumen hearing aids along with two styles of Bose hearing aids. You can't purchase Bose OTC hearing aids at Walgreens yet, but you can buy them directly through Lexie's website.
Where are OTC hearing aids located in the store?
Walgreens has opted to place Lexie Hearing Aids behind the pharmacy counter.
The decision makes sense as it will facilitate conversation between Walgreens' pharmacists and customers. The Walgreens team did clarify that pharmacists will not be available to set up and "fit" the product.
The Walgreens pharmacy team can answer questions about the product, but you will walk out with Lexie Lumen hearing aids in the box and set them up at home with the assistance of remote Lexie Experts.
Walgreens Staff OTC Hearing Aid Training
Don't expect the Walgreens floor staff to have overnight expertise in hearing health, but you can expect a basic level of product knowledge.
Walgreens told me their nationwide pharmacists and store team members had training on Lexie Lumen hearing aids.
Once purchased, customers are encouraged to work directly with a remote Lexie Expert to receive follow-up support. Walgreens will not provide OTC hearing aid follow-up care or tech support directly.
Should you purchase hearing aids at Walgreens?
Walgreens offers a level of convenience and access that I applaud. It's no small matter that hearing aids are now in 8,000+ local stores after 50 years behind doctors' doors.
That said, purchasing through Walgreens or purchasing online will lead to basically identical experiences. In either instance, you'll work directly with the Lexie team for any follow-up care or customer service.
If you've tried hearing aids at your local Walgreens, we'd love to hear from you—send us a note at [email protected].