On Thursday, August 3rd, the US Senate passed the ‘Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017’. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on July 12th.
The bill was introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. The bill was also supported by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).
This bill allows some types of hearing aids to be sold over the counter to adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. It would also require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate this new category of OTC hearing aids to ensure they meet the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling, and manufacturing protections that all other medical devices must meet.
The average hearing aid costs more than $2,000 and needs to be replaced every three to seven years. Medicare doesn’t cover them and insurance will cover only a small amount.
This bill would make hearing aids as easy to buy as reading glasses. This will give a person the option to purchase a safe, high-quality FDA regulated device at a lower cost.
The bill will now go to the president to sign into law. Once signed, it will go to the FDA to begin drafting rules and regulations in which they have three years to complete.