– Is the marketing and dispensing of hearing aids by audiologists necessary to the development of the audiology profession in Ontario and what are the ethical considerations/principles that must govern this decision?
Background Information gathered so far:
– Common questions & perceptions regarding audiologists in the healthcare industry:
Why should I get a hearing test from an audiologist who is selling me a hearing aid? The
person determining my need for a hearing aid also sells me the hearing aid (Staples, 2019).
Audiologist are often seen a retail salespeople rather than trained healthcare professions due
to the association with hearing Adi manufacturers. Majority of private practice audiologists
rely on the sale of hearing aids in order to sustain their practices (Ng, 2019).
– In comparison to other healthcare fields, Audiology still functions in a paternalistic manner,
where the audiologist knows best and the patient is expected to follow what the audiologist
says. Most patients have no background information, thus are relying solely on what their
audiologist tells them is the correct path to follow.
– The Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) and the Canadian Academy of
Audiology (CAA) both are against hearing aid manufactures selling directly to consumers
without using audiologists.
– Quebec is the only province in Canada and North America where Audiologists are not allowed
to sell hearing aids. 60% work in the public sector in comparison to Ontario where only 30%
work in the public sector (Fournier, 2017).
One of the main reasons cited for this difference is the permissibility of selling hearing aids.