Hearing loss is a chronic health condition that affects millions of Americans each year. Although patient satisfaction with hearing aids is high (95% of users) when dispensed by an audiologist, only about 30% of persons with a hearing loss seek help from hearing aids.
The reason for this low adoption rate in the US is partly due to the cost of the hearing aids and services. Other countries, like the UK, cover hearing aids through the national health plan. In the UK only 41% of the hearing impaired take advantage of the benefit. Therefore, cost is only one factor for low adoption rate. Other factors include vanity, stigma, fear, denial of hearing problems and misinformation.
Recently, there is a hot debate among consumers, professionals and tech companies whether the OTC hearing aid is good for the consumer. As an audiologist who has worked with thousands of hearing impaired persons in all practice settings (hospital, VA, ENT office, and private practice), the OTC, or do-it-yourself solution, appears to me to cut out the more important aspect of hearing aid fitting and rehabilitation; namely, the expertise and professional services of an audiologist.
Please see my whole argument on the FTC website on “Now Hear This” workshop at the following link:
https://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments/initiative-690. See Deborah Lynn’s comments (15). Also read Michele Michaels’ comments from a hearing impaired consumer.
Let’s hear what you think!