There’s momentum building in Washington in regard to innovation in the hearing aid industry. Last week, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report to the President recommending major changes in the way the Federal Government addresses the issue of hearing loss.
The report outlines what we already know: Age-related hearing loss is a significant national problem, and there is low adoption of hearing aids due to price and stigma. It goes on to a list a few recommendations to promote access to hearing aids and innovation within the industry:
-The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should enable a hearing-aid prescription process similar to what is available for eyeglasses and contact lenses, giving consumers a greater diversity of choices and the opportunity to shop around without being locked into the cost of a particular device or service.
-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should create a new category for “basic” hearing aids and associated hearing tests that are meant for sale over-the-counter. This would allow entrepreneurs and innovators to enter the market and open a space for creative solutions to improve mild-to-moderate, age-related hearing loss with devices that can be sold widely, allowing consumers to buy a basic hearing aid at the local pharmacy, online, or at a retail store for significantly less.
-The FDA should rescind its previous draft guidance about Personal Sound Amplification Products and allow these devices to make truthful claims about capabilities like improving hearing or understanding in situations where environmental noise or crowded rooms might interfere with speech intelligibility.
Audicus strongly supports these recommendations and appreciates the effort PCAST took to bring this major health issue to the forefront. Our mission has always been to create better access to affordable, high-tech hearing aids through innovative means. We hope the President takes action!
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