Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200 #00069

Submission Number:
00069
Commenter:
John Wall
State:
Washington
Initiative Name:
Hearing Health and Technology -- Workshop, Project No. P171200
Commission Members, I have dispensed hearing aids since 1986. My father was a hearing aid dispenser in California since 1946. At that time most states did not have dispensing licensure laws in place. Many manufactures sold franchises to distribute their products. Pressure was put on by the manufactures to sell more products or loose your franchise. It soon became clear that the public needed to be guided and protected from people who wanted to make a quick buck. My father fought for those licensing law with many other competent hearing aid dispensers. I and many other practicing dispenser have invested much time and money in trying to further our dispensing abilities and product knowledge. Those we are not doctors, we have made ourselves knowledgeable of underlying medical conditions and try to refer our clients to medical doctors when appropriate. Over the years our industry has been assaulted by companies that claim they are selling "personal amplifiers", not hearing aids. They were simply trying to get around regulations that were established states and our Federal Government to protect the public. These battles usually ended up with the same results; "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck, no matter what you want to call it. Here we go again! Same story, different day. I have been told 2 times in my professional practice that I have saved some ones life because I referred them for a medical evaluation. They were not aware of there problem and if given the opportunity they may have just purchased an OTC personal amplification system.....and died. I am not against people getting OTC devices, but I am against them being able to get them without first getting a medical release from a qualified ENT. Thank You for taking the time to listen to my concern. Please keep in mind the many good people who work hard to help people with their hearing concerns that may not be able to make a livelihood by this change. Sincerely, John F. Wall WA Lic. [redacted]