House Subcommittee Hearing Reviews the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017

House Subcommittee Hearing Reviews the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017

On May 2, HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley, Director of Public Policy Lise Hamlin, and HLAA Public Policy Advisor Barry Kasinitz attended a hearing held by U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health that reviewed four bills consistent with the committee's bipartisan efforts to support the review and regulation of medical devices as part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee reauthorization process. One of the bills discussed was the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 (H.R.1652). The meeting was chaired by Representative Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), in a room with a hearing induction loop in the House Rayburn House Office Building.

Speaking in support of the bill, HLAA Board of Trustee Member Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D, highlighted recent reports about hearing loss and some of the possible side effects people with hearing loss have a greater chance of experiencing.

Dr. Lin testified, “These research studies also clearly suggest that hearing loss treatments such as using hearing aids and other forms of amplification could potentially decrease the risks and lead to real and tangible benefits for individuals, families, and society. And yet, presently, less than 20 percent of the nearly 38 million American adults with a significant hearing loss currently have access to hearing aids.”

Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass., 4th District) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn., 7th District), who introduced the bill, questioned Dr. Jeff Shuren, director, FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and found that the FDA is in support of the bill as it is written.

The Hearing Industries Association (HIA), the national trade association of hearing aid manufacturers, also testified, but spoke of limiting the bill.

More information can be found on the Energy and Commerce website. (Note: there is a video of the hearing on the website but it is not captioned.)

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