Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians
Hearing Aid Specialists Regulations [18 VAC 80 ‑ 20]
Action Amendments to Board for Hearing Aid Specialists Regulations 2012
Comment Period Ended on 3/14/2012
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3/14/12  4:50 pm
Commenter: Marian Fredner,M.S.CCC-A/FAAA Albemarle Audiology,Charlottesville

I support the exemption of audiologists from taking the HA Dispenser Examination

As a licensed audiologist for the past 25 years who has held licenses in NY, CA, and VA, I found the requirement to take the hearing aid dispenser examination in Virginia to be redundant as the education required to become an audiologist includes specfic classes on hearing aid dispensation. Consumers should be given accurate information about the person they are selecting to care for their hearing and to select a hearing aid for them. Besides exempting the audiologist from the required testing to become a hearing aid despenser, the Commonwealth of Viriginia should help consumers know the difference between the certificate held by a hearing aid dispenser with a high school diploma and an audiologist with an advanced degree. Consumers know the difference in eduation between a nurse's aid and a physician due to their titles; by contrast, in the hearing aid industry consumers see a sign for a licensed hearing aid dispenser and they are not given enough information to know if that person has a high school degree or an advanced degree. This is a disadvantage to the consumer.  I support the proposal that the audiologist should be exempt from redundant testing and duplicate licensing but the Commonwealth should also give the consumer more information by making distinct the different titles the clear differences in education between a high school graduate and an audiologist merit. The titles should be "Hearing Instrument Specialist" for those holding a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree, and "Audiologist" for professionals holding the advanced degree. Both would be allowed to sell and service hearing instruments but at least the consumer could tell the difference! Please change the current redundant system!

CommentID: 23537