Communicative Disorders




Smith, Rachel

Advisor Department

Communicative Disorders




Hearing Aids; Hearing Loss; Audiology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.


One of life’s most fundamental needs is to connect with others. The ability to share ideas, feelings, and desires is something people often take for granted. As individuals age, the ability to hear tends to deteriorate, making communication increasingly difficult. According to The Hearing Health Foundation, 48 million Americans have compromised hearing. This includes people of all ages, but those over 65 years old make up a significant portion of that population. In fact, around a third of individuals between the ages of 65-74 and half of individuals over 75 are affected by hearing loss. To preserve or improve the ability to communicate, many people consult with an audiologist. The audiologist will evaluate and diagnose a person’s hearing loss, then discuss appropriate amplification options with him or her. However, in 2017, The Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act (FDARA), also known as the Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid Act, was passed into law. This act changes the field of audiology as well as the choices available to those experiencing hearing loss. It allows for direct sales of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids to consumers with a perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. For my project, I conducted an in-depth literature review to examine the benefits and drawbacks of prescription hearing aids compared to OTC hearing aids. Additionally, I created an informational pamphlet for individuals to reference when making decisions about how to treat their hearing loss. As an aspiring speech-language pathologist, I will have patients in the future with various degrees of hearing. I will be working with audiologists to help patients acquire the best possible care, and this project helped me gain a deeper understanding of the options available.