Until now there were no regulations imposed by the government on the distribution of hearing aids, this has all changed now and the millions of hearing impaired Americans are sure to benefit. Regulations enforced by the Food and Drug Administration now make it necessary to have a letter from a physician before you can buy a hearing aid. It is estimated by the FDA that around 10 million people with hearing difficulties have never even undergone a proper medical. To correct that, the FDA's new rule will require a physician's supporting medical statement that must be made within six months of the actual purchase of a hearing aid.
You can still waive the medical evaluation if you are 18 years or older, but the hearing aid dispenser must not do anything to promote or encourage a buyer to do so. At this time there are some 1,200 different hearing aid models available in the marketplace. Those of advanced years constitute roughly 60 percent of the hearing aid market, kids equate to 12 or 13 percent, and the remainder of hearing aids are used by those aged 18 to 65. The new regulations require hearing aid manufacturers to include a leaflet with each hearing aid that details what the device will and will not do, how it functions and proper usage.
It is important these brochures explain that a hearing aid will not restore loss of hearing, or prevent more from occurring in the future, all they do is amplify sound. Retailers must provide you with this literature before accepting your money. If you experience any of the following, the brochures advise you to seek professional advice, symptoms such as deformity of the ears, pain or fluid build up, dizziness, foreign bodies in the ears or what appears to be quickly degrading hearing.
After providing somebody with a hearing aid the retailers are obligated to hold onto all documentation of the transaction for at least 3 years, this includes the medical forms and waivers. The creation of this Federal Regulation is based, in part, on a report issued in 1975 by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare on hearing aid health care. The Federal Trade Commission has also proposed some regulations aimed at hearing aid purchase plans and forms of advertising, all of which are compatible with the FDA regulations. There are many different and diverse causes for the onset of hearing loss and there are some diseases where the use of a hearing aid may not help a patient.
The new laws aim to protect consumers from the cost of purchasing hearing aids that will not be affective in helping them to hear better. It also results in more people seeing their physician in order to evaluate their hearing loss. According to one spokesman the goal is to give consumers all the information they need to avoid spending money on something they do not require and can actually be detrimental to their recovery. It also ensures that people who have a medically treatable cause behind their loss of hearing will see a doctor for treatment instead of being sold a hearing aid that might not help them. They will have access to the complete and accurate information before they buy.
The regulations are quite clear but ultimately the responsibility lies with the person themselves. It is important people go to a physician for an examination. Hearing loss is not only due to aging, it can be a symptom of many different things. You may find that you can improve your condition through surgery, drugs, even changing your diet, and if that's the case an audiologist might suggest further testing, or just refer you immediately to a reputable dispenser of hearing aids. Hearing aids are just like any other product you may buy, so shop around and look for the best prices and after purchase services.
Review the warranties that are being offered. Most manufacturers will automatically guarantee the device against any factory defects or breakdowns for a minimum of 2 years, and many even offer a trial use period. You can also look into rental plans for hearing aids. Answer these questions before you purchase a hearing aid. Do you noticed enhanced quality of sounds, are you better able to discern spoken words while in quiet spots? When you are in loud environments, does the hearing aid cause any discomfort? Is it comfortable to wear and easy to operate? The more complex your hearing aid, the more expensive it is likely to be. Someone who is older might be happy to find a good device that runs $195 to $250, while a top of the line quality aid can cost $350.
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