In spite of another year battling a pandemic, a number of innovations and significant changes occurred throughout the past year in hearing healthcare. Legislative proposals, industry developments, advances in research and disruptive technologies were among this year’s list of ‘most read’ stories of the year at Hearing News Watch.
Below we highlight the Top 10 Most Read news stories of 2021.
Top 10 Hearing News Stories of 2021
1) FDA Proposes Rule to Create New OTC Hearing Aid Category. After years of anticipation, the FDA finally released its proposed rule to establish a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. When finalized, the rule would allow hearing aids within this category to be sold directly to consumers in stores or online without a medical exam or a fitting by an audiologist.
2) Apple Releases Data From Hearing Study, Offering New Insights Into Hearing Health. In March, the Apple Hearing Study, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, shared new data from thousands of participants across the US in an effort to help people better understand their hearing health.
3) Bose Unveils New SoundControl Hearing Aids. In May, Bose unveiled for the first time its new direct-to-consumer, SoundControl™ hearing aids. The devices come in the popular Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) form factor and are powered by a 312 battery. While initial offered in a handful of states, the company launched its devices nationwide in august.
4) What are the Drivers of Hearing Aid Non-Use? Hint: It’s More than Cost. This editorial written by Brian Taylor, AuD, discusses the work of researchers at Northwestern University who looked more closely at the drivers of why some people aren’t using hearing aids, beyond simply the cost of the devices.
5) US House of Representatives Passes Bill Adding New Medicare Hearing Benefits. The bill, which has yet to clear the Senate, would add coverage of treatment services provided by audiologists—for the first time in the program’s history—and reclassify audiologists as practitioners adding them to the list of providers eligible to furnish services via telehealth.
6) ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Actor Lou Ferrigno Receives Cochlear Implant. Ferrigno describes the joy of being able to hear his wife, who whispered from 50 feet away in their home, after his implant was turned on. He was surprised by the little, ambient noises he can hear now too, like tapping and ticking of home appliances.
7) GN Launches Jabra Enhance Pro Hearing Aids at Costco Hearing Centers. In June GN unveiled the Jabra Enhance Pro — a new, premium hearing aid line-up available at Costco Hearing Aid Centers around the world. The new Enhance Pro represents the first hearing aid under the Jabra brand, which is best known for consumer audio products.
8) Sonova Acquires Sennheiser Consumer Audio Business. With the takeover of the Sennheiser Consumer business, Sonova is adding headphones and soundbars to its hearing care portfolio, which includes hearing aids and cochlear implants, among other hearing solutions.
9) Study Finds Loud Sounds Cause Fluid Buildup in Inner Ear, Opening Door for Possible New Hearing Loss Treatments. A new study from Keck Medicine of USC links inner ear nerve damage due to noise to a condition known as endolymphatic hydrops, a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, previously associated with conditions like Meniere’s disease
10) Frequency Therapeutics Announces New FX-322 Results Showing Additional Study Participants Gain Hearing Improvements at Later Time Points. In September the company announced that four additional sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) subjects from its FX-322-111 open-label study achieved statistically significant hearing improvements when evaluated 8 to 12 months following initial dosing.