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Why purchasing a hearing aid is a consumer nightmare

keskritt at SPRYNET.COM keskritt at SPRYNET.COM
Tue Sep 23 20:38:38 EST 1997

I have been following this thread for a while, but the last response from 
jbell at barint.on.ca has made me unable to sit back and just follow along...

In the posting, this individual has written: 

"Here in Ontario the dispensing profession does operate as a professional group 
with published flat rate fees for each level of service which are posted in each 
office.  I think this came about due to all the consumer rip offs in the past 
which forced the government to take some action..."

I would just like to clarify this...

Here in Ontario, this published flat rate price schedule that is referred to 
only applies to dispensers who are members of AHIP.  Basically, the only 
involvement the government has in this has to do with the fact that all 
dispensers in Ontario must belong to AHIP in order to dispense hearing aids that 
are partially funded through the Ministry of Health's Assistive Devices Program. 
The dispensers are not truly regulated by any professional organization, but 
must belong to AHIP if they want to dispense ADP-funded hearing aids, which 
accounts for the vast majority of hearing aids dispensed in this province.

Audiologists, on the other hand, must have registration with the College of 
Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) in order to 
legally practice in this province.  CASLPO is the governing body for 
Audiologists, and mandatory registration with the College is legislated by our 
government.  However, our professional groups (i.e., OSLA) publish recommended 
fee schedules as well.  Audiologists may authorize hearing aids for the ADP 
program, and may also dispense ADP hearing aids if also given dispensing 
audiologist status.  However, the ADP program is run independent of any CASLPO 
involvement...that is, you can be registered with CASLPO and practice as an 
Audiologist, but may or may not be an authorizer/dispenser for ADP (although 
most do...)

The reason Widex Senso's and other hearing aids are priced differently here in 
Ontario has to do with whether or not the device is funded by the ADP program.  
If it is, and the Widex Senso falls in this category, then the government 
stipulates that the dispensing fee for that device must not exceed the published 
fee schedules of either AHIP (for dispensers) or OSLA (for dispensing 
audiologists).  So, that is why the SENSO costs less in Ontario...because it is 
partially funded through the Ministry of Health's ADP program.  Not because the 
individuals here are any more or less ethical than our American counterparts.

Just so you don't think the Canucks are any more righteous, eh?

K. A. Eskritt, M.Cl.Sc., Reg CASLPO

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