The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, a bipartisan bill that would allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter (OTC) to address mild to moderate hearing loss, was introduced this week in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives this week.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored the proposed legislation’s introduction in the Senate; Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) are sponsoring its House entrance.
While proponents say the bill expands affordable access to hearing health care, which ASHA supports, ASHA President Gail J. Richard says it “goes too far” in expanding “direct to consumer” hearing aids to people with moderate hearing loss.
Richard, however, says ASHA appreciates other aspects of the bill: “We are encouraged by the willingness of the senators and representatives to work with ASHA to include measures that will advance safe and effective hearing health for many Americans,” she says.
These measures include specific Food and Drug Administration regulations of OTC hearing aids that:
- Establish or adopt output limits that are appropriate for the devices.
- Designate labeling requirements that cover how consumers may report adverse events using the devices.
- Specify conditions or contraindications for which use is not advised.
More information on the legislation is available in this press release issued by Sen. Warren’s office.