IntriCon Backs Bipartisan Legislation To Make Hearing Aids Available Over The Counter
ARDEN HILLS, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IntriCon Corporation (NASDAQ: IIN), a designer, developer, manufacturer and distributor of miniature and micro-miniature body-worn devices, today announced its support of legislation to make hearing aids available for those with mild to moderate hearing loss available over the counter. “The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” was introduced on March 21, 2017, by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). A companion bill led by Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was also introduced in the House.
“We feel this legislation will allow us to create innovative solutions that provide greater hearing device access at a much lower cost for millions of Americans.”
The proposed legislation would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter to Americans with mild to moderate hearing impairment. In addition, it would require the FDA to write regulations ensuring that this new category of over-the-counter hearing aids meets the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protections as all medical devices, providing consumers the option of an FDA-regulated device at lower cost.
“The Over-the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 has the potential to remove the significant barriers existing today that prevent innovative hearing health solutions,” said Mark Gorder, president and chief executive officer of IntriCon. “This legislation would invigorate competition, spur innovation and facilitate the development of an ecosystem of hearing health care that provides affordable and accessible solutions to millions of unserved or underserved Americans. Equally important, it aligns with our efforts to establish a new direct-to-consumer distribution through Hearing Help Express.”
IntriCon recently acquired Hearing Help Express (HHE), a provider of hearing aids direct to consumer (DTC). HHE has been providing hearing care DTC for the last 20 years, serving patients in rural and poorer urban areas with mild, moderate and moderate-severe hearing loss.
Nearly 30 million Americans experience age-related hearing loss, including over half of adults between the ages of 70 to 79. Yet only a small share of Americans with hearing loss - around 14 percent - use hearing aids, primarily due to their high cost. Hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance plans, and out-of-pocket costs for a single hearing aid average $2,400, and 70 percent suffer hearing loss in both ears, increasing costs to, on average, $4,800—far out of reach for many consumers.
The provisions of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act implement major recommendations from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The legislation has received endorsements from AARP, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the Gerontological Society of America, and the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Concluded Gorder, “We feel this legislation will allow us to create innovative solutions that provide greater hearing device access at a much lower cost for millions of Americans.”
About IntriCon Corporation
Headquartered in Arden Hills, Minn., IntriCon Corporation designs, develops, manufactures and distributes miniature and micro-miniature body-worn devices. These advanced products help medical, health care and professional communications companies meet the rising demand for smaller, more intelligent and better connected devices. IntriCon has facilities in the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe. The company’s common stock trades under the symbol “IIN” on the NASDAQ Global Market. For more information about IntriCon, visit www.intricon.com.
Statements made in this release and in IntriCon’s other public filings and releases that are not historical facts or that include forward-looking terminology are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements may be affected by known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are beyond IntriCon’s control, and may cause IntriCon’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, performance and achievements expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors are detailed from time to time in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, regardless of whether new information becomes available, future developments occur or otherwise.