A large number of people—especially in poorer countries–who are hard of hearing cannot afford to purchase big-brand hearing aids. Sound World Solutions was founded by two men who wanted to provide affordable hearing aids to those people. An earlier product was the basic Personal Sound Amplifier CS50, which—like all Personal Sound Amplifier Products (PSAPs)–could make sounds louder but could not address all of the user’s hearing difficulties. We purchased a pair (left and right) of CS50’s several years ago, and it did improve our hearing. But as our hearing worsened we needed a more sophisticated product, so when Sound World Solutions introduced its HD75 hearing aids pair we bought it. In the meantime, we had purchased a pair of hearing aids from one of the major brands that cost about five times the HD75’s. (The major brands are typically sold through networks of audiologists, who examine the buyers and fine-tune the hearing aids for those buyers.) We lost ONE of the major brand’s units and had to pay to replace it, at a price (after insurance) higher than the PAIR of HD75’s. More recently, we are using our HD75’s because the masks that we are required to wear to combat the coronavirus are concerned that the masks will knock them off our ears.
Sound World Solutions is one of many companies competing for the PSAP market; this market has minimal regulations. To protect consumers, finally, this week, Senators Warren (D-MA) and Grassley (R-IA) asked the FDA to look into regulating the OTC market for hearing aids, without delay.