Hearing Aids and Politics
We talk a lot about how over the counter hearing aids can help people live better lives, but that usually doesn’t include politics. However, in a story that didn’t see many headlines last year, our business saw an opportunity to better serve our customers (current and future) when the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 (H.R. 1652) was introduced.
Bi-partisan sponsorship of a bill is an anomaly in a time of political turmoil, but hearing health is a universal issue that affects millions. Our congressional representatives acknowledge that the pursuit of happiness shouldn’t be impeded by hearing loss. As long as devices are legitimate, and clearly represent their limitations, then a waiver is sufficient to prove that customers understand potential risks associated with hearing aids. We believe that the benefits far outweigh the risks, especially when over the counter hearing aids are purchased from accredited businesses.
Illinois has understood this longer than many states, and so our company has thrived here, as well as in the other states where over the counter hearing aids have been allowed. Hearing Help Express has been sending hearing aids by mail to customers since 1979. Since H.R. 1652 was proposed, we see lots of new hearing aid businesses enter the market, but none of them can match our experience, value, or customer service.
American Technology Leads the Way
Another issue that probably helped to spark this bill is that manufacturing gets more and more efficient every year. If you consider a television from 20 years ago versus a television today, it’s a pretty significant difference. When flat-panel TVs first entered the market, even the cheapest sets were thousands of dollars. Now, you can buy a huge, high-definition, smart TV for only hundreds of dollars. Hearing aids have been on a similar path.
With the move to digital, hearing aids suddenly got smaller and processed much more information. That means a tiny, digital device can now filter background noise, reduce or remove feedback, and help with creating spatial awareness for the user. Many people still think that hearing aids are stuck in the old-school pricing model, but that’s just not the case. Our most expensive device starts at $999 per hearing aid, for example, and our most popular models are closer to $500 each. Just like televisions, you get a lot more for your money these days.
Since there is low risk and potentially high reward, it makes sense for our congressional representatives to allow the majority of folks suffering from hearing loss easier access to devices they previously expected to cost too much. With any luck, hearing aids will facilitate more listening – even in politics!