WASHINTON (Gray DC) -- Hearing loss is one of the most widespread chronic conditions in the country, affecting millions of people.
Typical hearing aids can cost between one and four thousand dollars, and most insurance doesn’t cover them.
Officials in Washington D.C. are working in to deliver an easier solution to people here, and across the country.
Barbara Kelley, Executive Director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, said quality of life plummets when people don’t treat their hearing loss.
Kelley said, “You don’t feel like being part of the community anymore because it’s just too painful to go out and try to communicate.”
Studies show most people who need hearing aids aren’t getting them, and the people who do buy them often wait years because of cost.
That’s why the Hearing Loss Association of America is supporting a new law allowing people to buy hearing aids over the counter.
“Getting hearing help a lot more affordable and accessible for consumers.”, Kelley said.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) co-sponsored the bipartisan legislation.
Grassley said, “We want to do something for the six out of seven people who have hearing problems who can’t afford hearing aids now.”
Neil Disarno, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, said, “There is a potential for quite a number of people to be helped with this kind of legislation."
Disarno’s group is the nation’s largest organization representing hearing doctors. It fought the new law because it allows people to skip seeing the doctor. Disarno believes it will give people the opportunity to self-diagnose and treat.
Disarno said, “The hearing organ is one of the most complex organs in the body, and to think that you only need to boost it up a little bit, just like eyeglasses will magnify a page for you, is really a misconception.”
The Food and Drug Administration still needs to come up with standards for over the counter hearing aids, so that means you won’t find any approved devices on the shelf yet.
The FDA has up to three years to come up with those standards.