Don’t be fooled in April: Be informed!

People often ask me why other hearing aid offices do not provide the same comprehensive hearing and ear care that I do in my office. Most frequently, the answer is that they simply are not trained or licensed to do so. According to the Ohio Revised Code (4747), a hearing aid dealer license can be obtained by anyone who meets the following requirements:

  1. at least 18 years old
  2. high school diploma or equivalent
  3. free of contagious/infectious disease
  4. good moral character
  5. passage of state licensing examination (fundamental ear anatomy and physiology, hearing aid function/purpose, basic hearing testing, and ear impressions)

A hearing aid dealer (also referred to as a “hearing aid specialist”) is specifically limited to providing basic hearing tests for the sole purpose of selling and adjusting hearing aids. The testing is non-diagnostic and typically not billable to insurance. While dealers are permitted to sell hearing aids, they are NOT qualified to remove earwax, evaluate or treat tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or balance disorders, manage hearing conservation or newborn hearing screening programs, or provide aural (hearing) rehabilitation and counseling.

Truly comprehensive services such as these can only be obtained by seeing a licensed audiologist. Doctors of Audiology (Au.D.) are the most highly trained clinical health care providers specifically focused on providing diagnostic and rehabilitative services for hearing, tinnitus and balance disorders. In addition, audiologists have, by far, the most education/training related to the selection, fitting and prescription verification of hearing aids for children and adults.

Don’t be fooled by big advertisements and gimmicks because if it sounds like a sales pitch, it probably is. Be informed, trust your gut and see a licensed audiologist.

Dr. Clint Keifer is the owner of Great Lakes Audiology in Toledo. You can contact him at 419-327-2273; email at ckeifer@glaudiology.com; or visit http://www.GLAudiology.com