Hearing Aids Attract Attention in the National Press

February 6, 2017

As talk of hearing aid deregulation in the U.S. continues to swirl, over the past two weeks, there have been several hearing aid-related articles in the popular press.  

In a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, Garden City, New York audiologist, Roy Sullivan, PhD, responded to a January 12th WSJ article, titled “How Trump Can Help Millions Hear.” In his rebuttal, Dr. Sullivan emphasized that the retail cost of hearing aids is “one-third product and two-thirds process.” A commonly cited fact that, according to Dr. Sullivan, is misunderstood by consumer advocacy groups.  

wash pot

The Washington Post article on OTC hearing aids received nearly 2,000 views on the HHTM Facebook page and was shared a number of times.

With the somewhat provocative headline of “hearing aids may soon be over-the-counter and connect to WiFi devices,” a January 28th Washington Post article reviewed the market forces that may lead to federal changes in hearing aids regulations. The article also quoted executives at both the American Academy of Audiologists and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and how each organization views disruptive technology and possible regulatory changes.

Further, the article mentions that the Consumer Technology Association has prepared PSAP standards, with the intent of providing a ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’ for such products.


Consumer Reports on Hearing Aids and Hearing Loss


Finally, Consumer Reports published three articles related to hearing aids and hearing loss. Posted on February 3rd, one article discusses consumer cost saving tips when purchasing hearing aids, the link between hearing loss and other common chronic medical conditions and a short article comparing the features of two popular PSAPs.

  1. We have seen three patients this month who paid $6000+ for power hearing aids “that I just can’t wear” – All three had open tips letting the sound back out, which caused the hearing aids to whistle. The practitioners response apparently was to reduce gain, which nullified the benefit of the instruments. OTC may or may not be the answer to providing more help to those in need, but our industry needs to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves. If we don’t shine a light on bait and switch advertising, and confront exceptionally poor fittings like this directly with those responsible, do we really have a leg to stand on in this battle? I have worked with hearing practices all over America. This crap has been going on for decades, and you keep thinking it’s gonna get better, but it never seems to happen. Personally, I’m fine with OTC being the first step people take. Dedicated hearing professionals will always be able to take folks results with hearing instruments to a level far above what anyone can get just going to Best Buy. At least we will see less folks who have bought multiple pairs of devices at $10,000-$15,000 and not gotten results.

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