The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016 from Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is drawing strong support.
The bipartisan legislation would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter and remove unnecessary and burdensome requirements that currently create barriers for consumers who could benefit from hearing aids.
From the AARP: “Difficulty hearing creates a barrier to social interaction, and can have a negative health impact. Roughly 40 percent of the over-60 population experiences hearing loss. Unfortunately, hearing aid usage by those experiencing hearing loss is very low, with only about 20 percent of those affected using a hearing aid. A significant factor in the lack of utilization is the cost of hearing aids – which average over $2,000 per ear. Cost and other factors, such as access and social stigma, prevent people from using these life-altering technologies.”
From the Consumer Technology Association: "The high cost of hearing aids, the inconvenience and the cost of doctor appointments mean most adults with mild hearing loss don't get the hearing assistance they need. Sens. Warren and Grassley's bill is a great step forward to show how technology can drastically improve the quality of life for those with hearing loss."
From the Hearing Loss Association of America: “The benefit of making hearing aids more affordable and accessible extends far beyond the well-being of the individual with hearing loss and his or her family. As more consumers with hearing loss make use of hearing aids, workers become more productive, creating a potential economic benefit to the nation at large.”