Senators urge FDA to enact rules regarding hearing aids

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U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to initiate rules regarding hearing aids.

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act amended the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow the FDA to make certain hearing aids available over the counter to people with mild to moderate hearing impairment. The act became law in 2017, and the FDA was to issue proposed regulations no later than Aug. 18, 2020.

“Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older Americans,” the letter said. “Unfortunately, although hearing aids are considered prescription products, they are not generally covered by health insurance or original Medicare and can cost thousands of dollars. Only around 14 percent of Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids.”

According to the National Institute on Aging, almost half of people older than 75 and nearly one in three Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have difficulty hearing.

The senators also sent a letter to the FDA in December urging the agency to finalize rules.

Warren is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, while Grassley is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

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