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A law that increases access to hearing aids may have the unintended harm of decreasing access to hearing services, such as fitting and counseling, that could facilitate optimal hearing and adherence in using the devices, authors of a new report say.
The Over-the-Counter [OTC] Hearing Aid Act of 2017 will soon allow people to buy certain kinds of hearing aids without first going through an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser, currently the only route to getting the devices.
The law was intended to increase access to hearing aids, which cost an average of $4700 a pair, according to a research team led by Amber Willink, PhD, from the Department of Health Policy and Management and the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, both at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.