The Maryland Board of Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers, and Speech-Language Pathologists has established new standards for internet hearing aid sales. The state's new restrictions stem from the passage of HB 326 in 2007, which authorized the Board to regulate "the practice of telehealth communications" by hearing aid dispensers. The new regulation, which became effective at the end of October, includes a requirement that only licensed hearing aid dispensers are allowed to sell hearing aids to Maryland residents over the internet.
In addition to requiring that all online dispensers be licensed in the same manner as traditional in-office dispensers, the new regulation enforces mandatory compliance with the Maryland Commercial Law for hearing aid sales. This means that the scope, nature, and quality of services provided via internet sales must be the same as those provided during in-person sessions - including all refund/cancellation policies and liability/malpractice regulations.
Now, anyone selling a hearing aid online to a Maryland resident must be a graduate of an accredited 2-year post secondary program with a diploma or degree, complete the International Hearing Society Curriculum entitled "Distance Learning for Professionals in Hearing Health Sciences" or an equivalent course approved by the Board, and pass the written, law and practical examinations given by the Board.