HEALTH

Congress passes OTC hearing aid legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A new class of OTC hearing aids is one presidential signature away from becoming reality. The U.S Senate on Thursday passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act as part of the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act on a vote of 94-1.

"Thanks to bipartisan support on this issue, millions of Americans will improve their quality of life with little impact on their pocketbook," stated Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association. "Until now, nearly half of online U.S. adults – 98 million Americans – with hearing loss have been unable to access adequate hearing assistance due to prohibitively high hearing aid costs as well as the inconvenience and financial burden of doctors appointments. This legislation will create a new class of over-the-counter hearing aids costing roughly one-tenth the price of traditional hearing aids, making it easier for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss to afford the hearing assistance that they need."

The legislation will make certain types of hearing aids available over-the-counter to Americans with mild to moderate hearing impairment. It also requires the FDA to write regulations ensuring that this new category of OTC 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 bipartisan legislation was supported by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Reps. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

"This law will make a life changing difference for millions of Americans who experience hearing loss but can't access the hearing aid technology they need because of high costs and excessive regulations," Warren said. "By passing this legislation and making some hearing aids available over the counter, we will increase competition, spur innovation and bring down prices. I'm grateful to my colleagues – Democrats and Republicans – for joining me in this effort."

"I recently chaired an Aging Committee hearing on social isolation among seniors, which revealed that hearing loss, if left untreated, may contribute to loneliness, increasing the risk of serious mental and physical health outcomes." added Collins. "By making some types of hearing aids available over the counter, this commonsense legislation will help increase access to and lower the cost of these products for the consumers who need them."

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 received endorsements from leading organizations representing seniors, consumers and hearing health professionals, including the AARP, the Gerontological Society of America, the Hearing Loss Association of America, Consumers Union, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the American Federation of Teachers, the Consumer Technology Association, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, the Niskanen Institute, R St. Institute, and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.

Approximately 48 million Americans experience age-related hearing loss, including two-thirds of adults between the ages of 70 to 79. Yet only a small share of Americans with hearing loss – around 14% – 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.
 

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Hyland’s Leg Cramps showcased in Tour de France coverage

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — Hyland's last week announced its Hyland's Leg Cramps brand helped support NBC Sports’ recent month-long broadcast of the 2017 Tour de France.

The Hyland’s Leg Cramps commercial above aired throughout the majority of the twenty-one stages of the 2017 Tour, offering cycling enthusiasts a solution to leg cramps often experienced on long, grueling rides. In addition to these 30-second spots, Hyland’s sponsored a commercial-free segment during stage 12, a critical day of racing in the mountains and even contributed prizes for the NBC Sports’ Tour de France sweepstakes.

In past years, Hyland’s has been known within the endurance sports world for their sponsorship of the Boston Marathon. This sponsorship will continue in 2018 along with several other athlete initiatives.

“Supporting athletes of all disciplines has become a priority for Hyland’s,” stated Les Hamilton, president Hyland’s. “We are so proud to be in all 26 aid stations throughout the Boston Marathon race course with our award-winning leg cramp products and are now thrilled to begin our relationship with cyclists via sponsorship of NBC Sports’ Tour de France programming.”
 
Hyland’s is also active in their local Southern California cycling community as a sponsor of the Swami's Cycling Club. Founded in 1989, Swami’s Cycling Club is one of the most recognized groups of riders in the greater San Diego area and boasts more than 500 active members. Swami’s has built a reputation of attracting top riders for their famous 'Saturday Swami Ride'. According to Bicycling Magazine, the Saturday Ride is one of the top 10 organized rides in the nation and in years past has attracted the likes of Lance Armstrong, Chris Horner, Floyd Landis, Axel Merckx and many Olympians.
 

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ZSS brings its beauty supplement to GNC

BY David Salazar

ST LOUIS — Ingestible beauty brand ZSS’ supplements are getting a wide launch. The brand announced this week that it had partnered with GNC to carry its Clear Skin and Radiant Skin targeted supplements starting in October.

The Clear Skin products focus on blemishes and skin sensitivity, while the Radiant Skin supplements are formulated to fight signs of aging and environmental stressors, the company said. The products are all free of parabens, carcinogens, hormone disruptors and PEGS.

"We created ZSS for the consumer who understands that beauty starts with wellness and nutrition — a consumer who is looking for clean, efficacious ingestible beauty products," said Emily Frank, President of ZSS. "GNC, with its long commitment to offering innovative, high-quality products could not be a better retail partner."

ZSS said that there also would be an e-commerce rollout on GNC.com later this year.

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