November 21, 2007
The American Academy of Audiology has lauded Oticon, Inc, for its move to supply its products only to distributors who directly fit and sell Oticon products to end-users through face-to-face in-person consultations. The praise came through a news release from Oticon that noted the company’s new guidelines that refuse to accept new orders from distributor(s) who provide hearing aids to end-users through indirect means without direct contact.
According to Oticon, examples of violations of the guidelines include sales of Oticon products through catalogues, mail order, or over the Internet, as such sales are effectuated without face-to-face in-person consultations between end-users and distributors. In a statement issued by the company read: "People with hearing loss deserve to make the best choices possible for themselves that best fit their individual needs. We believe this is best accomplished through a personal relationship with a dispensing professional in a face-to-face setting."
The academy stated that it wished to call upon all other hearing aid manufacturers to implement similar hearing aid distribution guidelines, which Oticon made effective November 9, 2007.
The release from AAA announced that evidence shows 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.