American Academy of Audiology Issues Hearing Statements

The American Academy of Audiology on Jan. 27 released new statements on the accessibility and affordability of hearing care for adults and OTC hearing devices.

“Over the past two years, there has been considerable national focus on hearing care in the United States,” stated the press release announcing the guidelines. “Much of this focus has been directed toward the issues of accessibility and affordability. The Academy recognizes the significance and implications that this national dialogue has for our profession and the patients we serve. Accordingly, the Academy seeks to ensure that the role of the audiologist remains central to the delivery of high-quality hearing care, while also balancing the consumer need for accessibility and affordability.”

The Academy released the statements as guidance in light of ongoing consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine competition, innovation, and consumer protection issues related to hearing health and technology.

The first issue statement discussed OTC hearing devices and primarily focused on the issue of consumer labeling. The second recommended access to safe and affordable hearing care, including the areas of accessibility, identification and assessment, management of hearing loss, affordability and education.

“The Academy recognizes that existing service delivery models for hearing care may need to be reconsidered in order to optimize hearing healthcare for a greater number of consumers impacted by hearing loss,” summarizes the statement on hearing care. “Improving accessibility, encouraging appropriate assessment and management of hearing loss, and recognizing the impact of affordability on amplification usage are all priorities for the Academy. To this end, the Academy presents this position statement on the accessibility and affordability of hearing care for adult consumers.”

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