January 2, 2017 – OTC Hearing Aids


Anchor lead:  Will hearing aids soon be sold over the counter? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Millions of people worldwide suffer hearing loss, and a host of negative health consequences follow.  Now the US FDA is poised to make a decision regarding reclassification of hearing aids to make them both more accessible and affordable.  Frank Lin, a hearing loss expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Lin: Hearing loss is very very likely critical to maintaining our cognitive and our physical health as we age.  How do we optimize hearing care to essentially promote optimal functioning and healthy aging for all of us? So this National Academies report which came out in June basically has a series of recommendations, of which one of them was to look specifically at the issue of allowing over the counter hearing aids, because right now essentially hearing aids are considered medical devices, and the way they’re regulated is you can only access a hearing aid if you go first through a healthcare provider.  :30

Lin notes that right now, a pair of hearing aids can cost upwards of $4000, most often which is out of pocket. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.