This article originally appeared in The ASHA Leader on November 1, 2017.
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:
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.