Bye bye sales of Oticon aids over the Net

AAA Applauds Oticons New Hearing Aid Distribution Guidelines
RESTON, Va ? The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) hailed the decision by Oticon Inc to supply its products only to distributors who directly fit and sell Oticon products to end-users through face-to-face in-person consultations. Under these guidelines, Oticon will refuse to accept new orders from distributor(s) who provide hearing aids to end-users through indirect means without direct contact. According to Oticon, examples of violations of the guidelines include sales of Oticon products through catalogues, mail order, or over the Internet, as such sales are effectuated without face-to-face in-person consultations between end-users and distributors.

In a statement issued by the company, Oticon stated, ?People with hearing loss deserve to make the best choices possible for themselves that best fit their individual needs. We believe this is best accomplished through a personal relationship with a dispensing professional in a face-to-face setting.?

To review the guidelines, effective November 9, 2007, on Oticon?s Web site click here.

The Academy believes this decision is laudable, and sets a standard for all hearing aid manufacturers to follow. Evidence shows that successful hearing aid use is predicated on careful counseling, followed by selection, fitting, verification, and validation of the fitting?activities that can only be accomplished through the direct diagnosis and treatment by a licensed audiologist. The Academy has released a set of guidelines, ?A Systematic Review of Health-Related Quality of Life and Hearing Aids: Final Report of the American Academy of Audiology Task Force on the Health-Related Quality of Life Benefits of Amplification in Adults? (Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, Volume 18:2, 2007), and a report, ?Pre-Purchase Assessment Guideline for Amplification Devices? (Audiology Today, Volume 12:3, 2000), to this effect.

SOURCE: American Academy of Audiology

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perhaps this is an efford to gain loyalty from the current or traditional sales chanel… I was surprise with this desicion.
Any one has an idea how dig is the OOnline business outthere?

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AAA’s reflex action is the usual pious propaganda that protects the existing sales outlets and tends to reduce price competition all under the guise of protecting the hoh public.

And it limits the choices for the hoh. Ed

how would the existing dispenser will react to this
Do you guys think other sellers will follow oticon?

Anyone know hoe big of a market is the Sales by Internet market?

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I think that often the difference between spending 200, $600 and $2000 might be the determining factor whether one buys a hearing aid or does WITHOUT.
Thus it is important to keep the “generic” low cost windows open allowing those who want their hands held for $2000-$4000 to do so.

In fact, I have no complaints with the $30 amplifiers. Let CONSUMERS do the choosing rather than monopolistic sellers.

Every restaint on the sale of any product raises the price exponentially.

No, every case of a union (like the AAA) deciding on what, how, and how much is necessary is NOT beneficial to the consumer only the marketers.

The nexts months it will be interesting,
what would the other competitors will or will not do
since Oticon does own bernafon, Im wondering if they would also follow
or if they would allow bernafon to do so and thus keep a double moral standart… We would see…


First off, I am a private practice Audiologist. Obviously that slants my viewpoint. Certainly I feel that interaction with a qualified professional is highly important. Internet prices are cheaper because internet distributors do not provide the follow-up services that a store-front operation does.

If fitting hearing aids were nothing more than punching in hearing levels and clicking a mouse, internet fittings would be perfectly appropriate, however, even with performing probe microphone on every patient I fit, there is usually the need for follow-up adjustments. Additionally, the “quick fit” options that most manufacturers offer in their software are usually not close to actual probe mic prescriptive targets.

Nonetheless, it is up to the consumer to determine if the cost/benefit ratio is appropriate for their needs. Depending on the trial options and financing options, it is my opinion that the minimal additional cost of seeing a competent professional of the patient’s choice is well worth it.