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Invisible Hearing Aid: New Pennsylvania Regulation Agreement

Washington, DC, October 19, 2010 - In a key agreement for people with hearing loss, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Hearing Healthcare Association (PHHA) and the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) have achieved an agreement that “the use of the term ‘invisible,’ ‘100% invisible,’ or other similar term for a deep in the ear canal (IIC) hearing aid” does not violate PA Department of Health (DOH) hearing aid regulations. As outlined in the attached October 15 letter to HIA from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health, the PA regulations generally prohibit “deceptive representation” and specifically identify words like “invisible.” 

In July, dispensers in the Commonwealth using these words in advertising were warned by the DOH and the state Office of the Attorney General that they were in violation of the PA dispensing regulations. PHHA Executive Director Robert Stewart contacted HIA and the HIA Board immediately approved the engagement of HIA in the Pennsylvania issue, given the size and stature of PA and the importance of a good precedent for other states as these hearing aids become available. In a meeting in the Attorney General’s office in Harrisburg, state representatives met with HIA executive Carole Rogin, PHHA President Patrick Kochanowski and Stewart in a far-ranging and substantive session. The hearing aid industry outlined its public health responsibility to increase the numbers of individuals with hearing loss who use amplification, detailing the critical importance of the invisibility of deep canal fittings to motivating consumers to use hearing aids and the lack of health or safety risks in deep canal impression-taking and fitting. The industry also presented photographs and actual product to the state representatives to increase understanding of the importance of these new style products and the truthfulness of the claims that they cannot be seen when worn. 

In acknowledging the decision, HIA observed that “the interaction in Pennsylvania demonstrates the best kind of cooperation between the hearing aid industry and the states. Additionally, this is the kind of partnership with our dispensing professionals that directly benefits people with hearing loss who need hearing aids and all of us who provide products and services to them.” The Commonwealth amplified their decision in the attached letter with the assurances that the industry will comply with care.

View October 15 letter to HIA from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health (pdf)

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