Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200 #00036

Submission Number:
00036
Commenter:
Jacque Scholl
State:
Oklahoma
Initiative Name:
Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
These are exciting times to be an audiologist or other hearing health care professional. The consumer has made it clear what they want. The FTC is facilitating these demands in an effort to provide better access and more affordable options. The hearing care professionals have been gatekeepers to technology for the few who can afford it. Numbers don't lie and we cannot go on ignoring them. There's a large amount of the population that has hearing loss and either can't afford help or can't find it. Whether you agree with it or not, change will happen and it's up to all of us to make sure it's accessible, affordable, and safe. I believe some of the most exciting technology is going to come from changes we will soon see. Hearing aid manufacturers have long held us hostage to high prices which we have in turn perpetuated exaggerated costs to our patients. I advise patients the level of technology they are a candidate for...including implantable devices. I hold firm to the idea those professionals vested in doing what's right and ethical will not be hurt by the changes which are certain to transpire. In fact, these changes will drive more consumers to those who position themselves as leaders in an industry where few have been watching the outcomes of these workshops and discussions since 2009. I do agree the comparison between reading glasses and OTC hearing aids is not an appropriate one. Wearing the wrong pair of glasses doesn't correlate to damaging your vision. The hearing mechanism can be damaged by wearing the wrong hearing device without output limitations and verification. I would encourage this working group to set standards and limits on devices made available to the public. Consumer electronic companies must adhere to the strict guidelines set forth to protect consumers. Now is the time when hearing professionals utilizing best practice will shine. I am hopeful the outcomes of the FTC workshop and further discussions will set strict manufacturing and labeling guidelines for products, as well as limit output. As professionals, we are charged to do no harm. If we're going to allow greater access to all, then all of us have a great responsibility to make certain we do no harm in the process. I am happy to assist in this process anyway possible. I will be watching via Webinar since I cannot be there in person. Sincerely, Jacque Scholl