susan collins otc hearing aid act

Another Prominent US Senator Co-Sponsors OTC Hearing Aid Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Another prominent lawmaker has joined the ranks of bipartisan co-sponsors for the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, announced her support of the bill originally introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in a press release this week.

The Maine Senator also joins colleagues, Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who co-sponsored the bill when it was re-introduced into the Senate in March.

 

“Hearing aids allow Americans who experience hearing loss to communicate with friends, family, coworkers, and others as well as participate fully in society. I recently chaired an Aging Committee hearing on social isolation among seniors, which revealed that hearing loss, if left untreated, may contribute to loneliness, increasing the risk of serious mental and physical health outcomes. By making some types of hearing aids available over the counter, this commonsense legislation will help increase access to and lower the cost of these products for the consumers who need them.”  –Sen. Susan Collins

 

The legislation, which was recently attached to an FDA bill, was passed in the Senate HELP committee on May 11th with nearly unanimous support. Some version of the legislation is expected to pass the Senate by the end of the summer.

 

OTC Hearing Aid Legislation Support

 

While both the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and American Academy of Audiology (AAA) have pointed out that in some cases an OTC device may be useful as an “early gateway” for users with mild hearing loss, both organizations have expressed concern over some of the bill’s language and have offered recommendations to improve the bill. The International Hearing Society (IHS) continues to strongly oppose the bill.

Currently the OTC legislation is supported by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Bose, and the Gerontological Society of America.

 

*featured image courtesy theatlantic

 

3 Comments

  1. As a multi decade purchaser of hearing devices, it has become quite telling to observe how many in the audiology sales channel are desperately trying to preserve a business model which has not served the American public. It is will known that 60-80% of our fellow citizens are not using any hearing devices.

    Why don’t more audiologists address the failure of the current distribution channel to make ANY meaningful progress for the non-served hard of hearing population in the US? Stop focusing on the small percentage of non-veterans who can afford to purchase high margin hearing aids and focus industry resources on dramatically expanding the populations served.

    The hearing aid industry had market barriers as granted by the FDA. It is now time to remove some of those barriers to competition. It is time to try something new and different. Continuing with the existing sales models will just get more of the past mediocre market penetration outcomes.

    The tiger is showing its stripes!

  2. Another sorely misled politician out to help comrade Warren’s re-election pay for play effort. But we will now turn our attention to getting the President to refuse to sign this job killing, business closing, foreign electronic manufacturing hijacking bill. The worse thing of all is the loss of the most consumer protective provisions of the FDA and state licensing laws for up 85% of the hearing impaired market. The weaklings of our industry’s leadership failed to even try and stop this travesty. AAA’s Board turned against the bill at the last minute but their President told the legislative committee to go ahead and pass it. Treachery at its worst.

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