Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image
Buying A Hearing Aid?

Be an Educated Consumer!

Hearing aid specialist  
Thinking about purchasing a hearing aid?  Hearing aid sales are regulated in Oregon, and hearing aid consumers have certain contractual rights. Be sure to know your rights as a consumer.  We'd like to help you make an educated decision. 
 
If you have questions about contract provisions or any other aspect of your potential hearing aid(s) purchase, contact the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) at 503-378-8667, or email​.
Back to Top

Who We Are

The Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) is a state consumer protection agency.  OHLA provides centralized regulatory oversight for multiple health and related professions. OHLA has statutory authority to carry out a full range of regulatory activities, including:
  • Issuing licenses
  • Conducting examinations
  • Responding to complaints
  • Inspecting facilities
  • Rulemaking & legislation
OHLA has statutory authority to uphold the contractual rights granted to consumers of hearing aids in Oregon who purchase their hearing aids from hearing aid specialists.
 
The Oregon Advisory Council on Hearing Aids consists of seven volunteer members appointed by the governor’s office.  The council, which acts in an advisory capacity, includes:
  • A licensed physician who is a certified otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat specialist, or ENT)
  • An audiologist certified with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association
  • Four individuals who are licensed to dispense, or sell, hearing aids under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Chapter 694.015 to 694.170​.
  • A public member who is a hearing aid consumer
The Council, along with the other volunteer citizen boards and councils under OHLA's oversight, has adopted a Consumer Bill of Rights (click on link for full view), which describes the rights consumers have when receiving services from OHLA-regulated professionals.
Back to Top

See a Physician First

Medical symbol  
Before buying a hearing aid, see your family doctor and/or an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT). Your hearing problem may need to be medically or surgically treated.

Referral to Physician Required if Medical Conditions Present

If you choose to see a hearing aid specialist without seeing a doctor first, the specialist is required to determine through direct observation and a personal interview whether any of the following conditions exist:
  • Visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ear
  • Active drainage from the ear within the previous 90 days or a history of active drainage from the ear
  • Sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss within the previous 90 days
  • Acute or chronic dizziness
  • Unilateral hearing loss of sudden or recent onset within 90 days
  • Significant air-bone gap of greater than or equal to 15 decibels, American National Standards Institute, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 Hz average
  • Evidence of significant cerumen accumulation in the auditory canal preventing visual inspection of the external auditory canal or external auditory meatus and tympanic membrane or foreign body in the ear canal
  • Pain or discomfort in the ear
If any of the conditions listed above are found, the hearing aid specialist must refer the consumer to a licensed physician who specializes in diseases of the ear or, if no such licensed physician is available in the community, to any licensed physician.

Waiver of Medical Opinion Form

If the prospective purchaser refuses to seek medical evaluation, a Waiver of Medical Opinion form must be completed.
Back to Top

Licensed as a Specialist?

Hearing aid specialists must be licensed by OHLA to fit and sell hearing aids.  Consumers may check to see if a hearing aid specialist is licensed by using OHLA's License Inquiry online licensing database.
 
As of January 1, 2010, audiologists will no longer be required to be licensed hearing aid specialists to fit and sell hearing aids. The Oregon Health Licensing Agency and Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology are working collaboratively to provide an effective transition.

Back to Top

Find a Licensed Specialist

Use the OHLA's public database to find a licensed hearing aid specialist by geographic area (city or postal code).
 
The database currently does not have business contact information (phone or street address).  Until it does, after finding a licensed specialist(s) in your area, we suggest using a print or online business directory.
 
Or, conduct a Web search using the specialist's name, key words "hearing aids" and the city or zip code.
 
Find a licensed hearing aid specialist.
Back to Top

Understand the Agreement

Before signing a purchase agreement, read it carefully and understand the terms of the agreement. The back page of the purchase agreement contains information on recession and refund rights (see below), and how to file a complaint.  Make sure all claims and agreements are in writing before signing any purchase agreement.
 
Contact OHLA if you have any questions or if you are not sure about your rights.
 
The purchase agreement must include the following:
  • Name and address of prospective purchaser
  • Date of sale / purchase
  • Make, model number and serial number of the hearing aid(s) sold
  • Principal business address of the hearing aid specialist
  • Condition of hearing aid(s)—new, demonstration model, reconditioned or used?
  • Hearing aid specialist’s state-issued license number
  • Terms of the agreement, or expressed warranty, in respect to the hearing aid(s)
  • The purchase price, which is the cost of the hearing aid (s) plus all related fees
  • Date of delivery/purchase of the hearing aid(s)
  • Date/place of required post-delivery follow-up session
  • Last date to rescind/cancel sale
  • Amount to be retained by hearing health practitioner if hearing aid(s) returned
  • Oregon Health Licensing Agency’s address
  • A copy of the following statement:
“It is desirable that a person with a hearing problem (especially for the first time) consult an ear doctor and obtain a clinical hearing evaluation. Although hearing aids are often recommended for hearing problems, another form of treatment may be necessary.”
If you have any questions about a purchase agreement, discuss the details with the practitioner before signing it. If you still have questions, contact OHLA (contact information below).
Back to Top

Your Right to Return

Have questions about your rescission rights? Contact OHLA in advance of your hearing aid(s) purchase for answers.
 
Oregon consumers have the right to rescind, or cancel, a hearing aid purchase if they:
  • Return the hearing aid within 30 days of purchase
  • Provide written notice
  • Return the hearing aid in good condition "less normal wear and tear"
A complete description of consumer rescission rights are required by law to be on the purchase agreement, and can be found in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 694.042​.

 
If you return your hearing aid, the hearing aid specialist may keep a portion of the purchase price (up to a maximum of 10 percent of the contract purchase amount or $250 per hearing aid, whichever amount is less).
 
Return Fee May be Negotiable:  Be sure to discuss what the hearing aid specialist will retain if you return the aid(s). This fee is negotiable and can be less than the ceiling amount or percent set by the state. For example, if you purchased a $2000 hearing aid and returned the aid, the hearing aid specialist could retain $200. Depending on the time and effort to fit the hearing aid, the actual fee could be less.
 
The amount the practitioner intends to retain upon return of the hearing aid(s) must be stated on the puchase agreement.
Back to Top

Your Audiogram

Hearing health practitioners who fit and sell hearing aids are required to offer you a copy of your hearing test, known as an audiogram.
 
Audiograms are standardized in Oregon for hearing aid sales.  Your audiogram shows your degree of hearing loss measured in decibels (dB) at different frequencies.  Hearing loss ranges fromn 0-20 dB (normal loss) to 91+ dB (profound loss). 
 
Measurement Standards – Degrees of Decibel Hearing Loss (dB HL) 
Loss in ​dB HL
Degree of Loss
Description
0 -20  
Normal
Within normal limits               
21 – 40
Mild Loss
Faint or distant speech may be difficult to hear.  Lip reading can be helpful.
41 – 55
Moderate Loss
Conversational speech can be understood at a distance of three to five feet.  As much as 50% of discussions may be missed if the voices are faint or not in line of vision.                   
56 – 70
Moderately Severe
Speech must be loud in order to be understood; group discussions will be difficult to follow.
71 – 90   
Severe Loss
Voices may be heard from a distance of about one (1) foot from the ear.                   
91 plus
Profound Loss
Loud sounds may be heard, but vibrations will be felt more than tones heard.  Vision, rather than hearing, may be the primary mode for communication.  

Back to Top

In-Home Sales of Hearing Aids

Sales of hearing aids made at the purchaser’s residence and not at the licensee’s place of business, require disclosure of federal guidelines related to “in home sales” and the purchaser’s right to cancel the transaction and receive a full refund of monies paid to the licensee.
 
The following federal disclosure statement must be completed and affixed to the Statement to Prospective Purchaser when a licensee sells a hearing aid(s) at the purchaser’s home:
 
 
Date of Notice__________________________________________
 
NOTICE OF CANCELLATION
 
You may cancel this transaction, without any penalty or obligations, within three business days from the above date.  If you cancel, any property traded in any payments made by you under the contract of sale, and any negotiable instrument executed by you will be returned within 10 business days following receipt by the seller of your cancellation notice, and any security interest arising out of the transaction will be canceled.
 
If you cancel, you must make available to the seller at your residence, in substantially as good condition as when received, any goods delivered to you under this contract or sale; or you may if you wish , comply with the instructions of the seller regarding the return shipment of the goods at the seller’s expense and risk.
 
If you do make the goods available to the seller and the seller does not pick them up within 20 days of the date of your notice of cancellation, you may retain or dispose of the goods without any further obligation.  If you fail to make the goods available to the seller, or if you agree to return the goods to the seller and fail to do so, then you remain liable for performance of all obligations under the contract.
 
To cancel this transaction, mail or deliver a signed and dated copy of this cancellation notice or any other written notice or send a telegram to:
 
Name of Seller: ______________________________________
 
Seller’s Place of Business ______________________________________
 
I HEREBY CANCEL THIS TRANSACTION
 
Purchaser’s signature and date ______________________________________

Back to Top

Questions? We Can Help!

If you experience problems with a hearing aid, first contact the hearing health professional from whom you purchased the device.  If your concerns are not corrected or resolved, you may file a complaint with the Oregon Health Licensing Agency.
 
To discuss your matter with an OHLA regulatory representative, contact OHLA's Regulatory Operations Division at 503-378-8667.  
Back to Top

How to File a Complaint

Please see the Consumer Help page for more information on how to file a complaint.
Back to Top

How to Increase Text Size

To increase the text size on this Web site, click on "A+" at the top right-hand of the Web page after "Text Size."
Back to Top