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Ethics and Audiology

HearWHAC HearWHAC at netins.net
Tue Jul 25 20:56:18 EST 1995

David J. Coffin, please accept my sincere apology for misplacing this 
"Ethics and Audiology" thread in your "PhD, AuD, Masters" thread. I am a 
Cyber Dunce and really goofed up. Maybe this post will correct the placement 
of this thread.

Thanks for the excellent e-mails, both from bionet.audiology and aol.com 
readers. All have indicated their concern about dispensers/clinics that take 
a person's money, sell them a hearing aid, and then send the patient home 
and the dispenser is not available to complete the fitting or provide 
ongoing hearing aid services.

One dispensing audiologist wrote:

>This moral quandry you propose is certainly not
>new to referral tactics from major institutions.
>I believe that no moral leadership exits at the head
>of these departments, or they would not allow this
>type of disservice to their patients!  I would
>propose that we do the following:  first draft a
>letter condemning this type of pratice, second, get
>a number of audiologists in the midwest to sign the
>letter and submit that letter to the head of the ENT
>department, to the head of the audiology division,
>and to the management of the clinic, and third,
>select a committee to meet with the representatives
>of the clinic.  This should at least solicit a more
>cautious approach on their part towards referral
>practices where the end result is blatantly unfair
>to the patient.

I learned a bit more today about this specific case. The person involved is 
a man who lives close to Winterset, Iowa. He apparently purchased a 3M 
hearing aid in March from a large medical clinic in the upper midwest that 
is located more than 250 miles from his home. He is dissatisfied with the 
fit of the hearing aid and also the programming. He called our office again 
today and stated that the clinic wants us to take new impressions of his ear 
and they will not send us a copy of his hearing aid's program on a computer 

Our audiology staff discussed this situation Friday morning at our staff 
meeting. At that time after lengthy discussion we concluded, 1) the clinic 
had not completed the fitting to the person's satisfaction and 2) it would 
be best for the person to return to the clinic to obtain satisfaction BEFORE 
we become involved in furnishing any ongoing services.

Today, Peg did offer to take impressions of his ear (for $50) at our 
Winterset office which is only a few miles from his home, give them to him 
and let him mail them to the clinic. At this time I do not know if he will 
have her do this, or if he will choose to return to the clinic to let them 
complete the fitting.

Thanks for everyone's input. This is an issue all of us have faced. I wonder 
if this issue should be addressed by the Food & Drug Administration. No 
state can control this, but the federal government could come up with some 
guidelines to protect the hearing aid consumer.

Paul Woodard
Des Moines IA

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