Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200 #00076

Submission Number:
00076
Commenter:
Brett Bacon
State:
New Hampshire
Initiative Name:
Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
I am a licensed hearing aid dispensor and Audioprosthologist with thirty-four years of experience testing hearing and fitting patients with hearing aids. I respectfully oppose the proposed deregulation of hearing aids to allow for over-the-counter purchase of hearing aids without hearing testing and selection by a licensed hearing care professional. First, the notion that anyone can self diagnose the type and extent of their own hearing loss without professional examination is patently ridiculous. Hearing testing requires professional training and knowledge that the layperson simply does not possess. Second, the current regulatory regime is working and does not need to be changed. Hearing professionals are licensed in their respective states to test hearing and where appropriate prescribe hearing aids. Hearing aid use is up nationally, and there is no indication from a quantitative standpoint that going through a licensed hearing care professional is in any way a barrier to access to hearing aids. Hearing aids are offered at a variety of price points that make them affordable. Third, the idea that a lay person can "self-diagnose" a mild to moderate hearing loss lacks scientific foundation. One of the major symptoms of hearing loss is the patient's inability to self-assess the scope and nature of their hearing difficulties. This is demonstrated every day by hearing care professionals during examination interviews with patients. Fourth, the proposed deregulation could cause more harm more good. The layperson could be suffering from major health problems that remain undiscovered because of the lack of an appropriate hearing examination provided by a qualified, licensed hearing care professional. Moreover, the layperson could actually cause more harm to their hearing by wearing a hearing instrument that is too loud for their hearing loss. The points made above are based on thirty-four years of practical experience helping thousands of patients to get appropriate hearing health care. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Brett Bacon, ACA