The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new Web site that will benefit current and potential users of hearing aids.
FDA regulates hearing aids, which it defines as sound-amplifying devices designed to aid people who have impaired hearing.
“People who already use a hearing aid know that selecting the right one is not a simple process,” says Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of FDA’s Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices. “There are many issues to consider. Also, current users of hearing aids want to know about the latest types and technology, and how to properly maintain the ones they already have.”
While more than 35 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, a 2004 survey conducted by the National Hearing Institute found that slightly more than 11 million hearing instruments were being used nationwide.
Mann says the new Web site will cover the different types and styles of hearing aids, how to obtain one, and steps to remember and consider before purchasing a hearing aid.
It has information on hearing aid safety, using cell phones while wearing a hearing aid, and on other products and procedures available to people who want to improve their hearing. It also stresses the difference between hearing aids, which FDA regulates as medical devices in order to assure their safety and effectiveness, and personal sound amplification products, which are not subject to this type of regulation.
Mann says the new Web site is not intended to provide medical advice. “If you have questions about your hearing, the best source of information is your hearing health care professional,” he says.
You can visit the new Web site, which was launched on October 20, 2009, at Hearing Aids
This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.