On December 1, 2016, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016. This bill would make certain types of hearing aids available on an over-the-counter (OTC) basis, would remove the requirement for a medical evaluation (or signed waiver), and would also allow personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) to be sold for the treatment of hearing loss.
Topic(s): Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), Advocacy
At the end of January, the Academy released two statements regarding the accessibility and affordability of hearing care in the United States. These statements were driven by the considerable attention hearing care services and devices have received over the past 18 months in Washington, DC. Of particular interest is the outcome of a December meeting at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), where the role of the audiology community in hearing care was readily apparent.
Topic(s): over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, audiology, Patient-Centered Care
The past 18 months have been nothing if not interesting for our profession. Between PCAST, the FDA, and the National Academy of Sciences, there have been multiple recommendations and suggestions regarding improving the access to, and affordability of, hearing care. More recently, the FTC announced that they too would be reviewing the delivery of hearing care, from their perspective as a consumer protection agency. And a bill has just been introduced in Congress that directs the FDA to develop rules for an over-the-counter hearing device.
Topic(s): Patient care, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid devices, Advocacy, audiology
In recent months, many new stakeholders have emerged within the hearing health-care system, including retail chains, hearable and PSAP companies, and technology groups (e.g., Consumer Technology Association). The emergence of these new stakeholders suggests that there will be changes to the current model of delivery of that care, and that the consumer could experience greater confusion in the marketplace given the expanded technology options available.
Topic(s): Hearing Health Care, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid devices