New FDA Guidance Allows Easier Hearing-Aid Access
The guidance document allows patients over the age of 18 to get hearing aids without a medical evaluation. FDA also promised to work on developing a framework for over-the-counter hearing-aid sales. Both elements were included in a bill introduced in the Senate last week.
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A House Health subcommittee wants to attach a quartet of medtech bills to a fast-moving user fee package in Congress. The bills, which got a hearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee May 2, would streamline inspections and third-party certifications of device exports, refine FDA regulations on over-the-counter hearing aids, make third-party device equipment servicers register and file complaints with the agency, and clarify FDA product-center jurisdiction for contract agency-dependent imaging equipment.
Most stakeholders speaking and participating in panels during the Federal Trade Commission’s April 18 workshop on hearing aids expressed support for over-the-counter sales of the devices, though several expressed reservations about how to best protect patients.
The US Federal Trade Commission plans to discuss hearing-aid marketing rules at an April 18 workshop. The workshop joins other recent government efforts, including a Senate bill and a US FDA draft guidance document, to grapple with a 2015 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that found cost and regulations blocked many patients with hearing loss from getting help.