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House Poised to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Finally Bring Hearing Aids Over-the-Counter

Arlington, VA – July 11, 2017 – 

The House of Representatives is poised to pass the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, which includes the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act. The act would create a new class of over-the-counter hearing aids and allows non-prescription hearing devices to be marketed to treat mild to moderate hearing loss.

“We applaud Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) for working with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to successfully advance the over-the-counter provision in the broader FDA user fee legislation," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA). “With this kind of bipartisan momentum in the House, we are hopeful that the Senate will continue to push this legislation as expeditiously as possible.”

Over-the-counter hearing devices will be affordable, readily available and much more in line with what American consumers are willing to spend to improve their hearing. According to CTA's Personal Sound Amplification Products: a Study of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior, price is a significant barrier for consumers seeking help for a hearing deficiency. A pair of traditional hearing aids costs anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000, a price tag that many Americans simply cannot afford. In contrast, over-the-counter devices will be one-tenth the cost, ranging in price from $100 to $600.

Shapiro added, “Passing this bill in the Senate and getting it signed into law will make an immediate impact in people's lives and bottom lines. Getting over-the-counter hearing aids on the same shelves as over-the-counter eyeglasses would be a major win for consumers with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. The high cost of hearing aids, the inconvenience and the cost of doctor appointments means nearly half of online U.S. adults – 98 million Americans – have some degree of hearing loss, but don't get the hearing assistance they need."

CTA has developed a new logo and high-performance standard for wearable hearing devices. This will help consumers in the future, distinguish high-quality hearing enhancement devices for mild to moderate hearing loss from the cheap, ineffective personal amplifiers commonly found today.