ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ fully stands behind the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and its House companion bill, introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA). The legislation removes current Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulations that prohibit manufacturers from marketing non-prescription hearing devices, known as Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs), which can benefit people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The bill allows consumers to buy PSAPs that address hearing loss as over-the-counter devices.
"Getting PSAPs on the same shelf as over-the-counter eyeglasses would be a major win for consumers," said Gary Shapiro, CEO and president, CTA. "Consumers are, quite literally, paying the price for these restrictions; they are forced to unnecessarily spend up to 10 times more on traditional hearing aids. The high cost of hearing aids, combined with the inconvenience and cost of doctor appointments, results in most adults with mild hearing loss not getting the hearing assistance they need. PSAPs can provide a less expensive, readily available array of products that can aid the millions of Americans living with mild hearing loss. More, opening this market will bring the innovation that robust competition fosters.”
PSAPs are affordable, readily available and much more in line with what American consumers are willing to spend to improve their hearing. According to CTA’s Personal Sound Amplification Products: a Study of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior, price is a significant barrier for seeking help for a hearing deficiency. A pair of traditional hearing aids cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000, a price tag that many Americans simply cannot afford. In contrast, non-prescription devices such as PSAPs are one-tenth the cost, ranging in price from $100 to $600.
In a letter to Senator Warren, Doppler Labs – a PSAP maker and CTA member company – shared their support for the legislation. “Your proposed legislation for an over-the-counter hearing aid category could open the floodgates and encourage innovation in this space from new entrants, particularly the consumer electronics industry,” said Kristen Liu, director of advocacy and accessibility. “With their resources, talent, and knowhow, companies like ours could help innovate hearing technologies and bring new products to market much more quickly.”
About Consumer Technology Association:
Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade association representing the $292 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, which supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES® – the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry services.
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