Sony has launched an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid in the US following a change in regulation that paved the way.
Hearing aids in the US required a doctor’s prescription until recently. In mid-August, however, the FDA changed its regulations to allow consumers to acquire hearing aids without a prescription and said they should start arriving on the market as early as mid-October.
Right on time, Sony has announced its first OTC hearing aids for the US market, building on a century of leadership in the hearing aid market.
“At Sony, we strive to realize an inclusive world where everyone can participate, and we see this new product line as an opportunity to increase accessibility for many,” commented Mike Nejat, Vice President, Engineering with Sony Electronics, and head of Sony’s U.S. Accessibility Promotion Office. “With our unique technology heritage, we can help bridge a gap between individuals and their environment.”
Sony’s news was praised by industry experts:
“As a company dedicated to advancing the cause of Wonderful Sound for All, we welcome the introduction of these self-fitting hearing options, with the knowledge that more than 65% of the total U.S. consumer market– that needs better hearing care has not yet achieved it,” 4 says Carsten Buhl, President, WSA Americas. “We expect these over-the-counter hearing aids to help people begin the journey to better hearing health.”
Sony has initially brought two models to the market:
The first two products to debut from the partnership are the CRE-C10 and the CRE-E10 self-fitting OTC hearing aids, designed with the understanding that one size does not fit all, and that people deserve options that best fit their unique needs, situations, and lives. Utilizing the app, the CRE-C10 and CRE-E10 intuitively adapt to each user’s speech and surroundings, blending the latest technology with comfort to meet each individual’s hearing goals.
Sony and advocates hope OTC availability will help more individuals get the assistance they need:
“Many people have ongoing challenges related to hearing loss and because of the negative feeling around it, they often don’t seek the help they may need,” says Tyler Ishida, President of Consumer Business Group, Sony Electronics. “As a leader in the audio innovation space, we are thrilled at the opportunity to improve the hearing assistance landscape with cutting-edge yet quite accessible devices that will ensure new over-the-counter solutions for those living with hearing impairment and also help general consumers engage with their surroundings in a deeper, more connected way.”