As mentioned earlier – we fully support the FDA’s ruling that adults purchasing hearing aids should first receive medical clearance from a physician specializing in diseases of the ear (ENT) (See Appendix A, “The FDA Regulations Governing the Sale of Hearing Aids”). In the event that there is a medically treatable condition associated with your hearing loss, then you must ABSOLUTELY follow the advice of your physician regarding any and all aspects of your hearing healthcare.
However, if no such condition is found, you should request a signed medical clearance form and a copy of your hearing test. This empowers you to competitively shop for hearing aids just as you would any other expensive consumer item.
Prior to the 1980’s hearing aids were rarely sold in medical practices, but not so today. Be aware that the prices in ENT offices tend to be very high – commonly $7 to $9 thousand for premium technology. Costco’s market entry poses a real problem for ENTs. Due to its immense purchasing power, Costco is able to retail Big Six RICs for the same price ENTs pay at wholesale. The bottom line is this – because ENTs offices are professionally run and highly ethical in nature, and because they normally sell flagship brand RICs, they are worthy of consideration as your hearing aid dealer.