Ear Q Group Sponsors Site to Stop Internet Hearing Aid Sales
In a clear attempt to rally the profession in defense of the gates, er patients, these folks argue that protecting patients includes banning their ability to purchase hearing aids over the Internet.
If you follow the link to the website they are advertising you can read for yourself how they feel that the entire industry is best served by attempting to turn back the tide and eliminate all Internet hearing aid sales.
Now, lets assume for a moment that Ed is wildly successful with his campaign and every state in the Union, which doesn’t already forbid such sales, does so. What is to keep anyone from opening a website and offering personal sound amplification products?
That new classification of products recognized in the FDA’s 2009 ruling that established for their sale, as a totally unregulated products, as opposed to the highly regulated devices we know as hearing aids and further established by rule and guidelines, that the only distinction between the equipment involved is how it is sold.
Sell it as a personal sound amplification product, to be used to enhance any number of difficult listening environments and it’s a totally unregulated product. Sell it to correct a hearing loss and the exact same piece of ear gear legally metamorphoses into a highly regulated device available to the public only through the provision by some sort of licensed professional.
So, to be totally successful, this campaign would have to re-write a published FDA rule that only got written because our industry fails to reach 80% of the folks who demographics tell us could benefit from amplification. And, it would do so by removing alternative choices from all consumers.
No, I’m sorry, but I’ll not be joining the call for more totally unenforceable bans that restrict anybodies right to choose where they get their hearing help. I’ll not be so bold as to treat every consumer as though incapable of making up their own minds about how much professional involvement, if any is appropriate for them. To do so takes away a freedom to choose, not something I want imposed upon myself and therefor not something I am in favor of imposing on others by law, rule, regulation, or edict.
If, you listen you can hear the changes underway in the hearing care market. One of them is the sound of a whole generation of technically savvy boomers, with a marked inclination to do it themselves. Far better to help educate these consumers into the benefits and value of dealing with those trained to offer professional help, than to deny them the ability to choose the level of service and equipment that they deem appropriate to their needs.
For more on how I feel about this issue click here.