Hearing Aid Distribution Guidelines
Oticon, Starkey, Widex, and Others
The American Academy of Audiology recognizes the decision by not only Oticon, Inc. (most recently), but Starkey, Widex, and others implementing guidelines to supply their products only to distributors who directly fit and sell products to end-users through face-to-face in-person consultations.
The Academy calls upon all other hearing aid manufacturers to follow these organizations' lead and implement similar hearing aid distribution guidelines.
Click here to review Oticon's guidelines, effective November 9, 2007.
Click here to review Starkey's guidelines, effective June 2007.
Click here to review Widex's guidelines.
This decision by all is laudable, and sets a standard for all hearing aid manufacturers to follow. Evidence shows that successful hearing aid use is predicated on careful counseling, followed by selection, fitting, verification, and validation of the fitting—activities that can only be accomplished through the direct diagnosis and treatment by a licensed audiologist. The Academy has released a set of guidelines, “A Systematic Review of Health-Related Quality of Life and Hearing Aids: Final Report of the American Academy of Audiology Task Force on the Health-Related Quality of Life Benefits of Amplification in Adults” (Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, Volume 18:2, 2007), and a report, “Pre-Purchase Assessment Guideline for Amplification Devices” (Audiology Today, Volume Volume 12:3, 2000), to this effect.