Hearing Aids Competition in the Market to be noted
As more vendors and manufacturers are selling hearing aids and hearing devices in the market, sound amplification for personal use and online applications that target patients with mild or moderate hearing loss, the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association (ASHA) Category: Hearing Aid, Hearing Therapy feels that patients are now more vulnerable to getting fraudulent sales or worst, as there are no audiologists involved, consumer safety may be compromised.
Regulations for selling hearing aids
Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Category: Hearing Aid, Hearing Therapy allows an oversight in the distribution and selling of hearing aids. Unfortunately, most manufacturers are trying to teeter on the edges of this rule by selling hearing aids as sound amplifiers, as the FDA is not involved in the distribution, manufacturing and selling of this kind of hearing product.
This is why the following regulations have been implemented:
Hearing Aids. A medical examination must be conducted by a physician or a waiver before anyone can avail of a hearing aid. The attending physician must provide a written statement announcing that he has evaluated the patient and is need of a hearing aid. The medical evaluation must happen six months before the purchase of the hearing aid.
As for the waiver for medical evaluation, this is only allowed on 18 years old or older and must be signed appropriately by the prospective user.
Personal Sound Amplification Products. These products are not made to improve hearing loss as they are supposed to be used to amplify the sound in the environment for normal hearing. Because of their nature, they are not defined as devices for diagnosis, treatment, cure or mitigation of diseases.
Although most are not in compliance with the FDA-approved regulation, online vendors offer low cost hearing aids and often include big retailers like Costco and Walmart. Due to their rapid growth, the FDA and other health organizations are having a hard time keeping track of those sites who sell hearing aids as personal sound amplification products or fail to comply with what the FDA entails.
New Market Sellers
Phone Apps. Android and Apple are providing several apps for people who are having difficulty in hearing or who are deaf and hearing-challenged. There are also apps developed to test the hearing capability of an individual.
Health Care Services. Multiple health care services facilities are also joining in the provision of hearing products, one of them is the Vision Hearing Alliance or VHA. This is an organization that incorporates hearing to vision services.
Fashion Designers. There are now vendors who use the power of accessories to make them fit the lifestyle, fashion sense and design culture of an individual.
Although it is tempting to buy something cheaper and affordable on the Internet, you have to be aware that you might be losing some professional services such as hearing test & assessment from an audiologist, hearing aid adjustment orientation to fit your ear and hearing diagnosis, and hearing aid rehabilitation services, etc. These services are necessary to help you achieve quality hearing health care and the fullest benefit you can get from a hearing aid. If you think you need a hearing aid, we are a specialist offering hearing test & assessment, hearing aid prescription and professional services.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription