Oregon Statutes - Chapter 694 - Hearing Aid Specialists - Section 694.142 - Standards of practice; rules; duty to refer; exceptions.

The Oregon Health Licensing Agency shall adopt by rule standards of practice for hearing aid specialists in providing services to consumers. The standards must include, but are not limited to:

(1) Before fitting or dispensing a hearing aid, the hearing aid specialist shall determine through direct observation and a personal interview whether any of the following conditions exist:

(a) Visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ear;

(b) Active drainage from the ear within the previous 90 days or a history of active drainage from the ear;

(c) Sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss within the previous 90 days;

(d) Acute or chronic dizziness;

(e) Unilateral hearing loss of sudden or recent onset within 90 days;

(f) Significant air-bone gap of greater than or equal to 15 decibels, American National Standards Institute, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 Hz average; or

(g) Any other condition that the agency may establish by rule.

(2) If any of the conditions listed in subsection (1) of this section are found, the hearing aid specialist shall refer the person to a physician licensed under ORS chapter 677 who specializes in diseases of the ear or, if no such licensed physician is available in the community, to any physician licensed under ORS chapter 677.

(3) Within the 90 days prior to fitting or dispensing a hearing aid to a person under 18 years of age, the person receiving the hearing aid must be referred to one of the following licensed medical physicians:

(a) An otolaryngologist for examination and for a recommendation of corrective measures that may be required;

(b) A properly licensed medical physician for like examination and recommendation; or

(c) An audiologist licensed by the State of Oregon for an evaluation of the person’s hearing and for a recommendation of corrective measures that may be required if the person is also examined by a properly licensed medical physician who gives approval for possible hearing aid use.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3) of this section, replacement of a hearing aid with an identical hearing aid within one year of the initial fitting or dispensing of the hearing aid does not require a referral to a physician.

(5)(a) Hearing aid specialists 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.

(b) A person issued a temporary license shall deal in hearing aids only under supervision of a person licensed under this chapter.

(c) A hearing aid specialist shall maintain a business address and telephone number at which the specialist may be reached during normal business hours.

(d) Sales of hearing aids shall be made by a licensed hearing aid specialist and not by direct mail. For purposes of this paragraph, delivery by mail of a replacement hearing aid or parts does not constitute sale by direct mail.

(6) If the person or the parent or guardian of the person refuses to seek a medical opinion from the physician to whom the person has been referred under subsection (2) or (3) of this section, the person dealing in hearing aids must obtain from the person or the parents or guardian of the person prior to fitting or dispensing a hearing aid a certificate to that effect in a form prescribed by the agency. Any person dealing in hearing aids or employees and putative agents thereof, upon making the required referral for medical opinion, may not in any manner whatsoever disparage or discourage a prospective hearing aid user from seeking a medical opinion prior to the fitting and dispensing of a hearing aid. Nothing required to be performed by a person dealing in hearing aids under this section means that the person is engaged in the diagnosis of illness or the practice of medicine or any other activity prohibited by the provisions of ORS 694.042 and 694.095 and this section. [2003 c.547 §75; 2005 c.648 §97]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008