Why Sen. Warren’s Well-Meaning Hearing-Aid Bill Could be Dangerous.

by Steve MacDonald

120806_elizabeth_warren_605_apA Bill sponsored by Massachusetts Sen. Liz Warren has become law. It legalizes over-the-counter sales of hearing aids.

Hearing aids are expensive. Very expensive. Probably too expensive. Having lived with hearing loss, I appreciate the desire and need to hear. But not all hearing loss is the result of something that you can correct with a hearing aid. Sometimes it is the result of a medical condition that a hearing aid will only mask, perhaps until it is too advanced.

Ideally, the market will address these concerns. The competition will encourage a tech race of features paired with increasing affordability. And people will ask their doctors about their hearing loss to ensure related conditions do not go undiagnosed.

In the end, it is up to the individual to measure risks and benefits and make a decision–assuming they know the risks, but who among us doesn’t believe that Liz Warren-inspired class action lawsuits against device makers are not in the offing the first time someone dies of cancer or some other condition masked by an OTC device?

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