Time To Clean The Wax Out Of The Hearing Aid Industry
A message of hope is being broadcast loud and clear to the 30 million aging Americans with hearing loss. The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission can nudge the overly consolidated and stagnant hearing aid industry into 21st century innovation, and if they do this, options for quality hearing aids will increase and prices will drop. Older adults will no longer have to spend their time and money on expensive hearing aids they really don’t want to wear and that don’t seem to work. Congress might even authorize Medicare to pay for them.
Hearing loss is a problem of aging, and as more and more Americans age, the problem is growing. By age 80, almost 80% of adults have difficulties hearing, difficulties that lead to social isolation, problems communicating and declines in day-to-day function. Notably, another age-related condition causes these same problems – cognitive losses from brain disease like Alzheimer’s disease – and for this problem, the U.S. has a national plan to prevent these diseases and improve care, but the problem of hearing loss, as prevalent and harmful as it is, has fallen on deaf ears. Until now.
“Aging America & Hearing Loss: Imperative of Improved Hearing Technologies,” a recent report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (commonly called PCAST), offers concrete recommendations that will spur innovation and expand access.
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