In what could be a victory for both free markets and common sense, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter.

According to reporting in Axios, the FDA move is the first in a long series of bureaucratic steps that must be taken before a free(er) market is allowed to bloom:

Advocates and lawmakers who have long pushed for over-the-counter hearing aids say the market for the products, if the proposal is approved, would look like the eye care industry, in which consumers have choices to purchase reading glasses and bifocals through their doctor’s office or elsewhere.

Hearing devices for people with severe hearing loss or for children would not be available over the counter, per the proposal.

Volume limits and other measures would be required to help prevent injuries.

State of play: The medical devices’ cost estimates are currently about $5,000. Insurance coverage is limited and Medicare won’t cover them at all. The stigma of hearing loss has also prevented millions from using them.

This move is long overdue. Making proven technology that improves people’s lives widely and easily available in a competitive market is genuine health care reform. More of this, please.