Wider Access to OTC Hearing Aids Becomes Law

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ASHA Committed to Working With FDA on Related Regulations

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President Donald Trump signed into law today the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, legislation that provides for greater public access to over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.

The measure enables adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss to access OTC hearing aids without being seen by a certified and licensed audiologist.

“The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is committed to working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the development of the regulations that will guide the implementation of this new legislation,” ASHA President Gail J. Richard said.

ASHA has expressed concerns about measures like the new reauthorization legislation that give persons with moderate hearing loss access to OTC hearing aids.

“Greater degrees of hearing loss are serious medical conditions with broader health implications,” Richard noted in a recent statement.

“People who experience greater than a mild degree of hearing loss could take the misguided step of trying to seek relief via OTC solutions. A better course of care would involve treatment overseen by a certified and licensed audiologist.”

Richard also said it is in the public’s interest that Congress require the FDA to track the safety and user satisfaction issues that arise with greater access to OTC hearing aids. “That way, they could better assess the implications of a do-it-yourself model for hearing care.”

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 191,500 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders. http://www.asha.org

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Francine Pierson
ASHA
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