Recently Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert on hearing aids sold online or over the counter.

This warning is overdue!

Over the past year, I have seen dozens of patients come in frustrated and disappointed with products they purchased online. The advertisements look enticing promising great performance at a fraction of the price.

The online reviews look fantastic.

The reality is often; these reviews are fake. The quality and effectiveness of these products are questionable.

Many of my patients attempted to return their online purchases only to find out phone numbers were disconnected, or no one would answer the phone.

The statement from Attorney General Rob Bonta reads:

“Healthcare costs can add up, which is why many of us seek out more affordable options that make sense for our families. While hearing aids sold online or over-the-counter may appear to be more cost-effective than traditional hearing aids, they may not properly address your particular hearing loss needs or maybe outright scams. As you explore your options, know your rights, beware of false claims, and exercise caution if you choose to purchase from an unlicensed seller.”

The statement made three recommendations to anybody who is considering purchasing online/over-the-counter hearing aids.

#1 – Get Checked By A Licensed Hearing Professional

A variety of factors may cause hearing loss – from simple ear wax build-up to more severe complications.

While online or app-based hearing tests may be convenient, they may fail to detect individualized or serious hearing loss issues.

If you need a hearing aid, a licensed hearing professional, who is authorized to test your hearing, can prescribe one that is individualized to your needs or refer you to someone who can, including a licensed seller of over-the-counter devices.

You should be aware that some over-the-counter devices are limited in their ability to fine-tune adjustments to your specific needs.

#2 – Beware Of Misleading Claims

Over-the-counter hearing aids are meant to treat mild to moderate hearing loss and may not treat severe hearing loss. In addition, hearing aids advertised as “FDA registered” are not necessarily “FDA approved.”

“FDA registered” merely means the company has registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and does not mean that the FDA has reviewed or approved a specific product.

The FDA recently issued cease and desist notices to companies advertising their products as “FDA registered.”

#3 – Know Your Rights

If you are unhappy with your hearing aids, California law (Civil Code section 1793.02) allows you to return them within 45 days of receipt for a full refund or exchange without any additional fees.

The seller must provide you with a written statement with this information and the expiration date for the return period. If a seller offers a longer return period, they must honor it.

Do You Have a Question or Need Advice?

If you have a question about online hearing aids or over-the-counter devices, we would be delighted to discuss them with you and help you ensure that you make the right decision.

To ask a question or schedule an appointment at your local office, please click here, and we will get back to you shortly.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dennis Tobin, HIS

Dennis is the owner of Park Place Hearing Center and is a Hearing Aid Specialist. Dennis has been in the hearing healthcare field for over 27 years. His father and grandfather also worked in the hearing industry. He brings a wealth of new knowledge and expertise to the Petaluma community. Dennis has dedicated his life to help people with hearing loss realize a better quality of life.
    What ReSound Hearing Aids Can Do for You

    ReSound is among the hearing aid manufacturers that provide the instruments you can choose from. Since their beginning in 1943, they have grown to provide their hearing aids in over 80 countries worldwide.

    Direct Android and iPhone connectivity to hearing aids using 2.4 GHz technology was first developed by ReSound.  As a member of GN Group, they contribute to deep research and development of medical, professional, and consumer audio solutions, providing innovative devices for the med-tech, hearables, and intelligent audio industries.

    Regardless of the style you choose, greater performance from micro-digital technology along with greater discretion and Bluetooth streaming to your smartphone are advantages of ReSound devices.

    Remote Assist

    An additional advantage, which became extremely important as hearing aid patients were unable to attend in-office visits due to COVID-19 restrictions, is ReSound’s Remote Assist support program. This feature allows you to connect with your hearing care provider using teleaudiology regardless of where you are, allowing for the necessary support and adjustments to your device from a remote location.

    What Starkey Hearing Aids Can Do for You

    Starkey hearing aids are relatively new when their history is compared to other hearing aid manufacturers, beginning in 1970. However, Starkey has provided hearing instruments for five U.S. presidents, two popes, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and other notable leaders. Starkey emerged in 2017 as a leader in the use of artificially intelligent hearing aids.

    In 2014, Starkey introduced Halo as their answer to iPhone connectivity along with producing more natural sounding clarity. The development of Livio AI enabled hearing aids to track physical activity and cognitive health using embedded sensors combined with artificial intelligence. Livio AI allows for auto adjustment to various environmental settings, language translation, fall detection and alerts, tap control, and a variety of additional features.

    Starkey provides advantages in sound clarity—especially with TV, telephone, and music streaming—a more natural sound, and smartphone connectivity with advanced overall health integrative features.

    Changing People’s Lives With Technology

    Oticon constantly work towards their vision of a world where hearing loss is no limitation. They innovate life-changing technology and are known for outstanding sound quality, reliability, and ease-of-use.

    They achieve this through pioneering cutting-edge technology and never compromising on quality.