Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
I am a doctor of audiology, having been in practice for nearly 30 years. The auditory system is a complex mechanism, and hearing loss involves much much more than just "I hear it, I don't hear it." When it comes to hearing instruments, the major concern is UNDERSTANDING, secondary to "hearing". Today's hearing "aids" are now referred to as hearing instruments because, as I explain to my patients, they are VERY sophisticated little computers that you wear. An audiologist receives 4+ years of extended training, and whether they go into dispensing or not, there are several classes devoted to fitting hearing instruments. To think that a lay person can just purchase a hearing instrument online and make it work is, at best, a crap shoot, and at worst, allows them to do potentially more damage to their hearing by over-amplification, or increasing distortion by not knowing how to manipulate programming at discrete frequencies. thereby becoming more and more dissatisfied, and not wearing whatever they purchased. This then leads down the road of how hearing loss contributes to depression, increased cognitive decline, balance problems, and a lot more. If you or a loved one or friend needed an external device that, when worn, had an effect on their heart rhythem, would you go online to purchase? Hearing instruments are not just amplifiers. If that's all anyone wants, there is still a danger to purchasing and wearing without advice, but not nearly as much as with hearing instruments. There is a reason audiologists receive the training they do, and this training should be respected and supported by the FTC in the same way other medical devices are. Thank you.