The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is launching a new webinar series to help consumers learn about over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, as well as a survey to gauge the public’s experience and awareness.
Since October 2022, adults with mild to moderate hearing loss have had a new option to purchase hearing aids without seeing a doctor or hearing care professional first, thanks to last year’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that allowed this new class of products to be sold directly to consumers. But are people taking advantage of the new, easier-to-get hearing help?
“It’s still day one for these brand-new products and consumers are understandably confused,” says HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley. “We know that treating hearing loss as soon as possible is crucial for overall health and quality of life, so we’re bringing together leading experts to help address questions about OTC hearing aids directly. It’s important that people have a resource to demystify these new devices.”
Further reading: OTC Hearing Aids Aren’t Attracting Buyers Yet
HLLA’s New Webinar Series
HLAA’s OTC 101—Ask the Experts series will feature leaders in OTC products including regulators, doctors, researchers and manufacturers in four Q&A style webinars beginning November 1, 2023, and running through spring 2024.
HLAA also wants people to take their new survey, designed to gauge hearing health knowledge and experience of OTC devices, and hearing health in general. Recordings of the OTC 101 webinars will be made available on the HLAA website. HLAA also has a checklist and shopping guide for anyone considering OTC hearing aids at hearingloss.org/OTC.
Forty-eight million Americans have hearing loss, and worldwide, numbers are expected to double by 2050 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). They also note that one billion young people are now at risk of hearing loss due to loud noise. Hearing loss is a growing public health crisis, and HLAA is a leading resource to help people wade through the confusion about hearing health and hearing loss prevention and treatment options.
“We want everyone to know that whatever option you choose, the important thing is to treat your hearing loss as soon as possible and keep trying until you get the right technology to help you stay active, involved and avoid other health complications that come from untreated hearing loss,” Kelley says.
HLAA also urges all Americans to get their hearing checked regularly, and to protect their ears in noisy environments to avoid damage—a timely message for October, which is National Protect Your Hearing Month. HLAA provides ongoing advocacy, resources and a nationwide community of support to empower people to live full lives with hearing loss.