Audiologists Fear Negative Impact of OTC Devices Almost two-thirds of audiologist respondents believe over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids will have a negative or very negative impact on audiology’s future, according to an online survey fielded by Hearing Health & Technology Matters, an online resource on hearing-related topics. Legislation signed into law in August directs the Food and Drug ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   November 01, 2017
Audiologists Fear Negative Impact of OTC Devices
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Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   November 01, 2017
Audiologists Fear Negative Impact of OTC Devices
The ASHA Leader, November 2017, Vol. 22, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB4.22112017.12
The ASHA Leader, November 2017, Vol. 22, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB4.22112017.12
Almost two-thirds of audiologist respondents believe over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids will have a negative or very negative impact on audiology’s future, according to an online survey fielded by Hearing Health & Technology Matters, an online resource on hearing-related topics.
Legislation signed into law in August directs the Food and Drug Administration to develop regulations for the sale of OTC hearing aids for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. The FDA has three years to develop and implement the regulations.
The survey, conducted in early August, explored audiologists’ views about OTC hearing aids. A total of 566 audiologists, all based in the United States, completed the survey.
The survey found that:
  • 65 percent of audiologists surveyed believe OTC hearing aids will have either a “negative” or “very negative” impact on audiology’s future.

  • 61 percent of respondents see consumer electronics companies as the greatest beneficiaries of the OTC hearing aid legislation.

  • 52 percent of respondents anticipate that OTC hearing aids will likely hurt their clinic; 9 percent anticipate that OTC hearing aids will help their clinic.

  • 34 percent anticipate that hearing aid adoption in the United States is likely to decrease because of poor results with OTC devices; 27 percent anticipate an increase in hearing aid use because of increased access and lower prices.

Comments from respondents were mostly in opposition to OTC hearing aids. Audiologists expressed concern about the involvement of consumer electronics companies and the potential for missed medical diagnoses, for example.
Other commenters were pleased about making options more visible, increasing accessibility and giving patients a chance to try OTC devices earlier than traditional hearing aids.
A recent article, however, indicates that despite (and, perhaps, as a result of) challenges in the hearing health care environment, audiologists may have an unparalleled opportunity to make their profession more relevant and vital than ever.
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November 2017
Volume 22, Issue 11