According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16 percent) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them. Why is that?
Hearing aids are outrageously expensive! They can range from $1,500 to $3,500 and that is just for one ear. If you have to get hearing aids for both ears that can double! For how many people suffer from hearing loss and could benefit from hearing aids, it is insane how costly they can be.
The good news is, President Trump has signed the legislation that includes the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act designed to provide greater public accessibility and affordability with over the counter hearing aids.
So What Does This Mean?
The OTC Hearing Aid Act will allow adults with mild to moderate hearing loss to be able to purchase hearing aids over the counter without having to be seen by a healthcare professional.
This requires the FDA to create and regulate a series to ensure they meet the same standards as hearing aids now with safety, consumer labeling, and manufacturing protection that is required for any medical devices.
When Will This Be Available?
Unfortunately, we are a long way off from this actually happening, but we are making progress! The FDA has 3 years to establish this and then finalizes the rule within 180 days after the close of the comment period. It is also possible that the FDA will host several hearings, as well as a comment period prior to publishing the new regulations. So it is a long process, but at least it has begun!
The Future Looks Bright
Hearing aids are such helpful devices that give people all over the world a chance to hear better. It may take some time, but we should be thankful and excited for it to finally be recognized.