Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
Human hearing is very subjective and varies based on an individual's perspective. When comparing two individuals with the same audiograms- one person might say "this sound is too loud" while the other might say "this sound is slightly loud but comfortable". It's hard to say which person is wrong--they're both right. When treating hearing loss with the use of amplification, experience shows us that no two people react the same way to hearing aids. This poses a problem for the over-the-counter model. Over the counter will treat everyone the same and we know one-size-fits all doesn't really fit anyone that well. My primary concern is that hearing impaired individuals will purchase OTC products, be unsatisfied with the quality, and then give up on hearing aids because they "already tried hearing aids". Hearing aids must be fitted by an experienced provider to ensure patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction is what drives hearing aid adoption rates down, not prices nor techology. By circumventing hearing aid providers, OTC hearing aids will not increase hearing aid adoption rates but will certainly raise the number of devices sitting unused in dresser drawers.