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Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids: How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

Event Date: June 29, 2023
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET
Location: Virtual. Limited in-person attendance is open to NIH staff only; RSVP required.
Presenter: Kelly King, Au.D., Ph.D., Audiologist and Program Officer, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

All NIH staff and the public are welcome to attend

On Thursday, June 29, 2023, in a virtual lecture open to all staff and the public, Kelly King, Au.D., Ph.D., Audiologist and Program Officer at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), will explain over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids and the events that led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rule creating this new category of hearing aids.

The virtual lecture is open to all, and live captioning will be available. Limited in-person attendance (RSVP required) is available for NIH staff only.

Hearing loss significantly affects quality of life for tens of millions of adults in the United States and contributes to high health care costs. Hearing loss can lead to isolation, and it is associated with conditions such as dementia, increased risk of falling, reduced mobility, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Yet only one in four adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them.

Making hearing health care more accessible and affordable is a public health priority, especially as the number of older adults in the U.S. continues to grow. Experts in science, technology, and hearing health care have been working with researchers, NIDCD, the FDA, and the public to find safe and effective ways to improve access to hearing health care for adults. In October 2022, the FDA final rule went into effect for a first-of-its-kind category of OTC hearing aid, with the goal of making hearing aids for many adults less expensive and easier to obtain. The FDA rule is the culmination of decades of efforts intended to help adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss listen, communicate, and participate fully in daily activities.

Dr. King will discuss how NIDCD’s efforts directly contributed to the landmark FDA rule, explain how OTC hearing aids fit into the current landscape of adult hearing health care, and highlight research needs related to OTC hearing aids and continued efforts to make hearing health care more accessible and affordable.

This seminar is part of a series of talks led by researchers and staff from NIDCD, part of the National Institutes of Health, called Beyond the Lab, Understanding Communication Disorders. The speaker series is an opportunity for everyone inside and outside of NIH—administrative staff, support staff, scientists, and the public—to learn about NIDCD research in communication disorders, conditions that significantly affect about 20 percent of U.S. adults at some point in their lives.

The live videocast will be captioned and recorded for later viewing. American Sign Language interpreting services are available upon request. Individuals who need interpreting and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event should contact Lonnie Lisle by June 14 to ensure interpreter availability.

About the Speaker

Profile photo of Kelly King Ph.D., Au.D.

Kelly King, Au.D., Ph.D., is an Audiologist and Program Officer at NIDCD. She oversees grants aimed at understanding hearing and hearing loss, as well as various treatments for communication disorders including hearing aids and cochlear implants. Dr. King received a bachelor’s degree in hearing and speech in 2002; a clinical Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree in 2008; and a Ph.D. in audiology in 2011, all from the University of Maryland. Dr. King leads an initiative at NIDCD to improve the accessibility and affordability of hearing health care.

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