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The Intersection of Pharmacy and Audiology for Hearing Health Care 

PITTSBURGH, March 20 -- The University of Pittsburgh is proud to host the inaugural OTC Hearing Aid and Hearing Self-Care Symposium on June 7, 2024. The event will bring together thought leaders from pharmacy, audiology and public health to discuss how the newest class of hearing aids (over-the-counter) can increase patient access to hearing health care in the United States. 

The keynote speaker will be Kelly King, an audiologist and program officer at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), close to 30 million adults in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. However, only about one-fifth of adults who could benefit from hearing aids seek them. To increase the public’s access to hearing aids and improve hearing, the FDA established a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss that went into effect in fall 2022.

Pitt established itself as an early leader in OTC hearing aid education with an online interprofessional course developed by Lucas Berenbrok, associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics in the School of Pharmacy and Elaine Mormer, director of audiology clinical education in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Pittsburgh for the rights to offer this Pharmacy-Based OTC Hearing Aids training program. 

At the Pitt symposium, pharmacists and audiologists will discuss how their professions can work together to promote the safe and effective use of hearing health care solutions like OTC hearing aids. Topics include public health, regulations, interprofessional practice and implementation for OTC hearing aids.