NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Just like picking up a pair of readers, you will soon be able to pick up a pair of hearing aids online or in stores.

“It won’t be the only solution or the best solution for everybody, just like is true for glasses. But I think that it’s a way to get started, and that’s a barrier that we really have to overcome,” said Dr. Sarah Sydlowski, President of the American Academy of Audiology.

This week, the FDA issued a final rule to make hearing aid products widely available to those with mild to moderate hearing loss as early as mid-October. Those younger than 18 or with severe hearing loss still need a prescription for their devices.

Approximately 30 million Americans experience hearing loss, but because of expense, only about one-fifth get help.

Doctors advise you to take action on hearing loss and the sooner the better.

“Even mild hearing loss makes people more than 2 times more likely to develop dementia later in life,” said Dr. Nathan Michalak, an Audiologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

While The FDA eliminated the requirement for a doctor’s exam to purchase hearing aids for mild or moderate hearing loss, EVMS audiologist Dr. Michalak encourages it.

“I think at EVMS we would recommend that somebody at least look in the ear to determine that there is not a wax obstruction or some other medial issue that needs to be addressed.”

Congress has pushed for this change to allow patients to better shop around for the best deal. Traditional hearing aids run between $2,000 and $7,000 and most insurance do not cover the cost.

It’s estimated that over-the-counter devices will cost $500 to $1,500.

“So there’s still a cost risk issue there,” Dr, Michalak told 10 On Your Side.

The risk is that you won’t get the benefit you’d hoped for and end up at a doctor’s office later.