In another step away from the medical model, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed the requirement for a professional evaluation before hearing aids can be purchased. This accelerates the trend to direct-to-consumer sales, and may be followed by the creation of a new FDA product category, over-the-counter hearing aids. Considering how much audio processing power there is in everyday portable gadgets, it may not be long until ‘hearing aid’ is just another setting on your smartphone. More disruption!
But speaking of ‘smart’, is this? While many consumers are certainly able to make these decisions independently, some may not be, and losing access to professional audiology services may jeopardize their results. The Hearing Industry Association responded to the FDA action with some interesting data on consumer satisfaction.