The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016, sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would allow certain hearing aids to be sold over the counter and would eliminate the “burdensome requirement” that consumers get a medical evaluation or sign a medical waiver before purchasing OTC hearing aids. The Act would also require the FDA to issue regulations containing safety and labeling requirements for OTC hearing aids and to update its draft guidance on Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). The senators said they would introduce the legislation when Congress reconvenes before the end of the year.
Posts Tagged: FCC
This has been a huge year for consumers with hearing loss. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued a landmark (and highly controversial) report on the state of the hearing healthcare industry, with a focus on access to care, and hearing aid affordability. The Institute of Medicine (IoM) also held a four part “Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults.” The FDA’s regulation of affordable hearing aid alternatives was a hot topic of discussion at the IoM, and PCAST called for the deregulation of over-the-counter basic hearing aids. Meanwhile, the FCC is in the process of revising its Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) rules for mobile phones. Tech giant Apple has even become involved, asking the FCC to remove the telecoil requirement.
In a recent submission to the FCC, Apple argues that the current HAC compliance rules do not assess how well handsets and hearing aids actually “work together for consumers” and that the FCC should perform “qualitative assessments” to ensure handset usability for hearing aid users. Further, Apple proposed that the Commission should recognize solutions such as Made-For-iPhone (MFi) as viable alternatives to current hearing aid compatibility (HAC) compliance.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission took major steps to ensure greater access to wireless communications services and handset devices for the tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss. New rules and proposed rules passed today reflect a consensus-driven approach to foster accessibility for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing while promoting innovation and investment by the wireless industry.