In November of 2017, the US Government signed into law the Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid Act. This act allows adults with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss to seek out and select hearing aids without the assistance of hearing healthcare professionals. We have conducted and published two clinical trials evaluating whether older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss are able to select and fit their own hearing aids. In general, the vast majority of older adults are able to do this and the outcomes resulting from self-selection of their devices are quite positive. In this presentation, the results of these two clinical trials will be reviewed and discussed with a focus on the implications for future delivery of hearing aids to older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss in the US and elsewhere.
- Describe the issues and context that led to the passage of the OTC Hearing Aid Act;
- Discuss the pros and cons of various models for hearing-aid provision, especially for older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss; and
- Explain the evidence behind a “consumer-decides” model for the self-fitting and selection of hearing aids by older adults.