Lucid Hearing, a global leader in advanced hearing technology and audio solutions, is marking the October first anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration's approval of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids by looking back on the progress seen in the OTC market.
The overarching question is whether the FDA accomplished its goal to increase the public's access to hearing aids and improve hearing for adults impaired with mild to moderate hearing loss. To help gain insights, Lucid Hearing conducted a patient survey, sent to OTC purchasers, and a blind survey sent to respondents nationwide between 35-65 years old.
According to the FDA, despite the high number of people affected by hearing loss, only about one-fifth of those who could benefit from hearing aids sought a solution before OTC. From their patient survey, Lucid Hearing learned: 50% of those who purchased OTC products are new hearing aid wearers, indicating the ruling is positively impacting the number of those getting help.
Survey results showed that over half of respondents were aware that OTC products cost less than traditional prescription hearing aids. Lucid Hearing launched its OTC lineup to offer affordability. The opening price point starts at $199, with more premium products ranging from $599 to $1,299.This includes the recently released ultra-premium Tala™, which features the company's new proprietary Precision Directional Listening System.
Educate to Correct Misperceptions
While inroads toward access and affordability are being achieved, the national survey also showed the primary reason people have not purchased yet is a perception that OTC devices may be of lesser quality than prescription devices. This could indicate an industry need to continue educating about OTC devices and help consumers understand that 1) testing is still highly encouraged to determine the accurate degree of hearing loss to ensure the hearing aids selected are appropriate, and 2) OTC devices are solely for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
"This past year has been a success in building more awareness about hearing health. We've seen strength in our prescription business in our almost 500 Sam's Clubs locations and in OTC with retail partners across our distribution network," said Jason Kidd, president and COO of Lucid Hearing. "With over 50 percent of the general population in our survey being aware of the OTC category at the one-year mark, the launch of the OTC market has exceeded our expectations. But more work needs to be done to help people understand how OTC devices work and who they can help. We're honored and excited to be a part of this journey."
Accolades and Donations
A long-time player in the hearing aid market, Lucid Hearing's roots and research go back well before the OTC market launched a year ago. Similar to its prescription offerings, deep expertise in research and development went into its OTC lineup, including work done in conjunction with the University of Texas at Dallas to develop the pre-set programming that serves as the foundation for the company's OTC products.
The company's efforts have not gone unrecognized, as Lucid Hearing is receiving industry accolades and recognition from sources like Forbes Health, Hearing Advisor, and the Stevie Awards, where the company's OTC products took prizes in the Health & Pharmaceuticals-Product and Emerging Technology categories.
To celebrate this milestone year, Lucid Hearing has embarked on a number of local philanthropic initiatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Further advancing accessibility, the company has donated over $150,000 in hearing aids to local organizations serving low-income communities and supporting audiological education efforts. Additionally, to promote awareness of Lucid Hearing's overall mission of hearing health, the company distributed hearing protection to alumni attendees from the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas for the Red River Rivalry football game during the State Fair of Texas.
"This past year, being able to serve patients with both prescription and OTC products has allowed us to make tremendous progress in support of our mission to help people hear better," said Tim Schnell, Lucid Hearing Founder and CEO. "On top of the hundreds of thousands we have helped in our hearing centers over the past decade, we are now pleased to help those with mild to moderate hearing loss nationally and serve our local community. We look forward to what the future holds as we advance our efforts in delivering accessible hearing health and treatment to more people than ever before."
About Lucid Hearing
Since its founding in 2009, Lucid Hearing's mission has been to advance hearing healthcare holistically across its family of brands that encompass hearing enhancement, enjoyment, protection, detection, and wellness. Lucid Hearing's dedicated licensed hearing professionals provide free hearing tests and prescriptions to match a consumer's specific hearing loss at one of almost 500 Lucid Hearing centers or through their OTC partnerships with Amazon, Best Buy, Brandsmart, CVS, HSN, Kroger, Sam's Club, and Walmart.