The Food and Drug Administration is finally clearing the way for hearing aids to be sold over the counter, without a prescription.

The long-awaited move is intended to address the high cost and difficulty of obtaining medical devices used by millions of Americans.

Cheaper hearing aids should be available at stores and online as soon as October.

Hearing aids now often cost as much as $5,000 and require a doctor’s go-ahead to be purchased.

These are needless impediments for the roughly 30 million Americans with hearing loss. The FDA estimates that only about a fifth of people who would benefit from hearing aids now have the wherewithal to obtain them.

I wrote last year about a Burbank man named Larry Hicks, who had been diagnosed with significant hearing loss after blasting music at crazy-high levels in the car.

He was unhappy that Medicare and most private health insurers don’t cover hearing aids, meaning he was looking at spending thousands of dollars out of pocket.

“It feels like price gouging,” Hicks told me. “They’re taking advantage of the disabled and the elderly.”

Dr. Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, said giving people greater access to hearing aids addresses a “critical public health issue.”

“Establishing this new regulatory category will allow people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss to have convenient access to an array of safe, effective and affordable hearing aids from their neighborhood store or online,” he tweeted.

A 2015 report by former President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology placed the typical list price of a single hearing aid at $2,400 — a 1,100% markup if, as is estimated, the device cost about $200 to produce.

The report noted that “innovation has not reduced cost,” and that nearly half of all people ages 60 and older have hearing loss.

The FDA took its sweet time addressing this amid headwinds from makers of medical devices that stand to profit less from people’s medical misfortune.

Happily, they’re now singing a different tune.

And millions of people will soon be able to hear it better.