The letter — spearheaded by Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IN), Lucile Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Andre Carson (D-IN) — noted that devices that are currently marketed as OTC hearing aids are "nothing more than cheap amplification devices that can further damage the user's hearing." It also cites that bipartisan attorneys general from across the country and political spectrum have issued warnings about the risks of unapproved personal amplification devices that can further damage a patient's hearing.
With respect to policy solutions, the Democratic lawmakers noted that more needs to be done to ensure patient access to a wide range of hearing health technologies, including Medicare coverage of hearing aids that are fit by audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. The Members also cited key recommendations within the hearing care associations' consensus white paper, including:
"When Congress passed legislation to allow OTC hearing devices, it did so to achieve the bipartisan goal of better serving the American public with affordable, accessible hearing technologies," the lawmakers write. "While we remain committed to that goal, we fear that unclear regulations will lead to widespread misuse of amplifiers that do not address hearing loss and can exacerbate the underlying problems due to poor self diagnosis."