WASHINGTON, DC — In a message sent to Academy members this morning, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) announced that Academy President Ian Windmill, PhD and President-Elect Jackie Clark, PhD met with health policy staff in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) office on March 15th.
According to the announcement, the focus of the meeting was to share Academy members’ concerns with the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act that was introduced in the previous congress. During the meeting, Drs. Windmill and Clark discussed the complex nature of hearing loss and the important role of the audiologist in supporting positive patient outcomes with regard to hearing aid devices. Further, they also discussed the importance of labeling requirements on OTC devices that would help educate and also protect consumers that make decisions to self-direct their hearing care.
Since the release of the OTC legislation in November of last year (S. 9), Senators Warren and Grassley have indicated a willingness to work with the audiology community while promoting accessible and affordable hearing care for consumers.
Discussing OTC Hearing Aid Concerns
During the meeting, Drs. Windmill and Clark were able to address some key differences between the Academy’s statements and the original legislation introduced last year. Congressional staff were said to be amenable to several suggested changes regarding labeling and the classification of the proposed new category of OTC hearing aids.
“With the expectation of introduction of the OTC legislation in both the Senate and the House early next week, the Academy anticipates the latest version will represent an improvement over the original bill. However, the Academy projects that the wording of the bill will still leave room for additional improvements and changes.”
The Academy says that it will continue to working with the bill’s sponsors in the US Senate and House of Representatives, as well as engage with other stakeholders on Capitol Hill to ensure that the “critical role of the audiologist” is represented in the ongoing discussions.