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How to Be Clear in Hearing Aid Advertising
Accuracy Is Key
Hearing aid specialists should be careful to accurately represent the services they provide and the credentials they hold, whether it is online, in a printed phone directory or on a business card.  Not complying with the following is subject to a possible civil fine or other disciplinary action:
 
Overarching OHLA Statute Applies to All
·    Licensees in all professions regulated by the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) are subject to OHLA overarching statutes, including, specifically related to this subject, ORS 676.612(2)(b), which states that a licensee commits a prohibited act by “Using, causing or promoting the use of any advertising matter, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, insignia or any other representation, however disseminated or published, that is false, misleading or deceptive.”
 
Make Clear Your Credentials
·    Under Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 694.142 (5)(a) of the Advisory Council on Hearing Aids, licensees “…shall make clear their credentials, never representing that the services or advice of a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery, osteopathy and surgery, or a clinical audiologist will be used or made available in the selection, fitting, adjustment, maintenance or repair of hearing aids when that is not true. Hearing aid specialists shall also refrain from using the word "doctor" or "clinic" or other words, abbreviations or symbols that tend to connote an audiologic, medical or osteopathic profession when that use is not accurate.”
 
Audiology Statute Applies as Well
·    Hearing aid specialists are also subject to the following under Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, ORS 681.250(2):  “No person shall practice speech-language pathology or audiology or purport to be a speech-language pathologist or audiologist in this state unless the person is licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.”
 
Tips to Keep in Compliance
In collaboration with the Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, OHLA and the Advisory Council on Hearing Aids offer these tips to keep your advertising and other external communication in compliance:
  • Before placing business listings and display advertisements or conducting any other external/public communication, verify in writing that the listing category is accurate and complies with the above statutory requirements.   This also applies to Web-based advertising, tags on Web pages used by search engines, and any other online communication.
  • If you find your business listed incorrectly, immediately contact the directory publisher and request that your listing be moved to the correct category and changed in the next edition of any printed directories.
  • The key is to be clear in representing your professional credentials and services and to double-check any advertising or external communication before it goes online or is printed.
 
Audiology Board Rule Defines "Audiologist on Staff"
If you employ audiologists at your hearing aid business, you should be aware that audiologists must comply with OAR 335-005-0025(10) under the Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
 
The rule states that an audiologist must be “physically present” for at least 30 hours a month at the hearing aid business if the business advertises audiology services.  The rule applies to any audiologist employed by a hearing aid business, but not to the hearing aid business or hearing aid specialist(s) who own and operate the business.
 
If the audiologist employed by a hearing aid business violates the rule, the audiologist can be cited by the audiology board.
 
“While audiologists are responsible for complying with their own regulations, we’re communicating this to our licensees as a courtesy,” OHLA Regulatory Operations Manager Bob Bothwell says.  “We’re here to protect the public, but we also want to foster a positive business environment within our regulated professions and related professions.”
 
For More Information
Contact the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) if you have
questions at 503-378-8667 or ohla.info@state.or.us.  OHLA oversees licensing and regulation of multiple health and related professions.