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Updates on OTC Hearing Care

Age-related hearing loss is almost universal—two-thirds of adults age 70 and older are affected by it. Current hearing care models do not serve many older adults, particularly low-income adults. Affordable, accessible hearing care is needed. 

Over-the-counter hearing aids are one part of the effort to reach the 23 million older adults with hearing loss who currently go untreated. Recent high-profile, national efforts and legislation have brought sweeping changes to how adults will access hearing care in the coming years.

Over-the-Counter Hearing Care: Updates, Innovations, and Its Impact on Your Practice

Today, 3:45 – 4:45 pm

GWCC, Building B, Room 404

The topic will be covered in today’s session “Over-the-Counter Hearing Care: Updates, Innovations and Its Impact on Your Practice.”

“OTC hearing care is around the corner, and it presents an incredible opportunity to connect more older adults with hearing technologies that can have a great impact on their daily lives and their ability to age well,” said panelist Carrie L. Nieman, MD, MPH. “This session will provide a primer on what you need to know about OTC hearing aids, including updates on rolling out OTC hearing aids, key features to consider in counseling patients, and the latest devices currently on the market.”

During the session, Dr. Nieman will focus on the geriatric adoption of OTC hearing devices, while session moderator Seilesh Babu, MD, will give an overview of the impact of OTC devices on otolaryngologists and their practices. Candice C. Colby, MD, will provide an overview of legislative and regulatory changes and possible future direction that may govern the sale and distribution of OTC devices, and Nicholas Reed, AuD, will discuss the efficacy and effectiveness of OTC hearing devices.

“This is an important opportunity to keep the community informed of ongoing legislative and regulatory changes that will impact hearing healthcare,” said Dr. Babu. “As otolaryngologists, we need to be well-educated to be at the forefront of these changes and be able to lead future discussions regarding the latest over-the-counter hearing devices, appropriate patient population and selection, current laws governing their use, and how this may impact our patients and practices moving forward.”

In addition to current rules and regulations, Dr. Babu said it is important for otolaryngologists to be educated in the differences in the multiple devices available to patients and to offer solid advice in selection. “It is important to note these devices are not meant for our typical hearing-aid users,” he said.

“We have a commitment to our patients to ensure all older adults have access to hearing care and that we help connect older adults with technology that works for them,” Dr. Nieman said. “After all, hearing care is not just about addressing hearing loss; it is about connection, engagement, and access to effective communication. Hearing care may be an essential tool to aging well and we, as otolaryngologists, can play an important role in helping older adults access the right tools.”