As the US Gets Closer to Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids, Experts Urge Consumers to See a Hearing Care Professional First

Washington, D.C., March 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In recognition of World Hearing Day on March 3, the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) is releasing results of a recent survey of 1,000 adults that helps us understand consumer perspectives regarding hearing health.

  • 37% of Americans over age 55 reported having some degree of hearing loss (mild/moderate/severe), making hearing loss one of the most common medical conditions for this age group, after hypertension and arthritis;
  • While 18% of all survey respondents reported having their hearing tested in the past year, the results for adults 55 and older are worrisome. One in five have never had a hearing test and one in four have not had a test in the last decade, despite the high incidence rate;
  • Knowledge about hearing aids for adults 55 and over is low with 75% reporting they know little or nothing about hearing aids;
  • If they need hearing aids, which are medical devices, 12% of adults 55 and older report being comfortable in buying them over-the-counter (OTC) at a pharmacy without consulting a professional; and
  • One in four do not know if their insurance covers hearing aids.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing comments to a proposed rule that will regulate over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, available without the assistance of a hearing care professional, to adults 18 years of age and older with mild to moderate hearing loss. The Hearing Industries Association (HIA) fully supports making OTC hearing aids available and believes that easier access may encourage more Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss to address their unique hearing situation. In the US, an estimated 48 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss, and those who pursue a solution wait 6-7 years on average before doing so, while many never pursue a treatment for their hearing loss.


“If, as expected, hearing aids become available over the counter in the coming months, millions of Americans will have wider access to a vast array of hearing aid brands and technologies,” said Kate Carr, President of the Hearing Industries Association. “This is a major step forward for people with a hearing loss. Our survey shows that the vast majority of adults know little or nothing about hearing aids. This is why we believe individuals should see a hearing care professional first before making a purchase,” added Carr.


A hearing care professional, such as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician, audiologist or hearing aid specialist, can assess hearing loss, determine the cause and best treatment, and guide the individual on how to choose the device that is right for them, if necessary. From identifying the sources of hearing loss, to determining the best way to treat it, to finding a solution that meets the needs of patients, a hearing care professional (HCP) is a patient’s guide to better hearing health.


“The role of an audiologist is to evaluate a person’s hearing loss and to provide the best solution to fit that individual’s unique hearing loss needs,” said Thomas A. Powers, PhD, audiologist, professor and researcher. “They assist in preventing, diagnosing and treating hearing health and balance disorders for people of all ages. Not only that but a hearing care professional can help you understand how to listen safely, which is the focus of this year’s World Hearing Day.”




The Hearing Industries Association (HIA), a forum for hearing aid manufacturers, suppliers, and providers, strongly supports increased access to hearing health solutions and affordability of hearing aids. Through research, technological advancements, and a deep understanding of the importance of hearing health and the role of the hearing health professional, HIA members strive to provide the best hearing loss solutions to fit the unique hearing loss and lifestyle of each individual.


For more information, visit, or follow HIA on Facebook @betterhearingHIA and Twitter @better_hearing.  


*Results from an n=1,000 online survey of the general American public conducted December 8 to 13, 2021.


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