Make Your Voice Heard Today – Congress to Vote Soon on Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids!
Having HLAA lead the way as the voice of the consumer is imperative to ensuring passage of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017.
Sometime in the next few weeks both the Senate and House of Representatives will vote on the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 (Senate bill S. 670; House bill H.R. 1652), which, if passed, will require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new category of hearing aids that can be sold over the counter. Over-the-counter hearing aids will reduce the cost of hearing aids to consumers and will also spur innovation and increase competition.
This is one of the most exciting – and hopeful – times we have ever seen in hearing health care. But we need your help more than ever to make it less burdensome and more affordable for people to get help for their hearing loss.
Contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to support the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017!
The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act is one of several attachments (“amendments”) to a larger, must-pass bill known as the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (S. 934; H.R. 2430). However, that does not guarantee passage of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act.
Opponents are expected to present revisions to remove or weaken the provisions of the bill. Powerful special interest groups are fighting the bill in order to keep the cost of hearing aids high to protect the bottom line of those who stand to gain from keeping the status quo.
We need to let our Senators and Representatives know that consumers with hearing loss want – need – access to lower cost hearing aids. Here’s how you can help:
How to Send an Email to Your Legislators
If you already know who your Senators and Representatives are, you can go to their webpage (by simply doing a search on their name) and click on “contact” or “email me.”
If you don’t know who your Senators and Representatives are, finding them is easy!
- Finding your Representative: Go to house.gov/htbin/findrep and enter your zip code. This will give you the name of your Representative. Just click on the “mail” icon to send a message.
- Finding your Senators: Go to senate.gov/senators/contact. Select your state from the pulldown menu and follow the link to your Senators’ web page. Remember, there are two Senators in each state and you should contact both of them.
What to Say: See sample emails supporting over the counter hearing aids.
Need more Information? Contact HLAA Director of Public Policy Lise Hamlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for supporting this groundbreaking legislation that will make a difference in the lives of the millions of Americans who do not get help for their hearing loss simply because they can’t afford to!
In the coming weeks, it is expected that both the Senate and the House of Representatives will be voting on the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 (S. 670 and H.R. 1652, respectively), one of the attachments to the larger FDA Reauthorization Act. Contacting your Senator or Representative to ask them to support this bill will go a long way toward helping the millions of Americans who currently can’t afford hearing aids.
Here is a sample email you can use when you contact your Congressman, or you can create your own.
Dear Senator ___________: or Dear Representative ___________:
Please support the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, one of the attachments to the FDA Reauthorization Act, and oppose any efforts to weaken the language in it. Being able to buy hearing aids over the counter will make a difference in the lives of the millions of Americans who want help for their hearing loss but who simply can’t afford it.
As a hearing aid wearer, I can tell you firsthand that the high cost of hearing aids is a hardship – mine cost thousands of dollars. Being able to buy hearing aids over the counter will reduce their cost, create more competition among hearing aid manufacturers, and will spur greater innovation by allowing more companies to enter the market.
Or as an alternative to the paragraph above:
At a time when smartphones and other electronics are becoming more and more affordable, there is simply no reason why hearing aids should cost thousands of dollars each. Allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter will spur competition and innovation. This will both reduce the costs and improve the technology.
Sample final paragraph:
I hope you will support your constituents with hearing loss by voting for the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act. Over-the-counter hearing aids are an important step toward improving the quality of life for people with hearing loss. Thank you for your consideration.
Include your name and contact information such as street address, telephone number, and email address.
If you want to do more after you have sent your letter of support, here are some suggestions:
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Use #HLAA4OTC
- Contact Lise Hamlin, HLAA director of public policy, if you want to know what you can do in your home state or with an HLAA Chapter.
- Sign up for the online HLAA e-News to get timely announcements.
- Become an active investor in advancing affordable and accessible hearing health care for adults by joining HLAA now and/or making a contribution. Our work is not done! There are other issues such as insurance and Medicare coverage for hearing aids.
- Video clip of Senator Warren asking the FDA about OTC devices during hearing in the HELP Committee. (3/21/2017)
- Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
- Full Text of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Bill
- Sens. Warren and Grassley’s Press Release
- Sens. Warren and Grassley's Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Fact Sheet
- HLAA’s Letter of Support
- Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids: The Path Forward, JAMA Internal Medicine