Hearing Aid Dispensing Question?

SuteraK suterak at aol.com
Thu Feb 22 14:36:11 EST 1996


Paul Woodard originally wrote:
>>We also have real ethical questions about the use of “All Makes” labs. 
I know this is now going to bring a rebuttal from my son who does not
agree with me on this subject. <g>

>>Very simple - taking used parts from old junker hearing aids and using
them to fix a hearing aid.  How often do we get a solicitation from
Starkey and the other “All Makes” labs offering to purchase old junker
hearing aids from us? 

Oticon has published some interesting data about this. They have received
hearing aids for repair and have found a completely different circuit that
somebody stuck into an Oticon hearing aid - obviously an “All Makes” lab
that didn’t have the correct parts to repair the aid.

Dale Woodard then responded:
>To what extent would used parts be acceptable?  I am in favor of the labs
using used parts in order to keep our cost down on both repairs and new
hearing aids.  By using the parts from a return for credit aid, the labs
can be more efficient.  If they were to just discard the parts, the price
of hearing aids would go up.

We have a choice if we want to use the labs or not.  I’m glad we have the
choices.
______________________________________________________

I am in agreement with Dale.  Many times I have repaired hearing aids
myself using used parts.  Yesterday I had an Oticon E38P that had a broken
spout on the receiver port.  I pulled out the old receiver casing and put
a used casing in that I had from an aid (Oticon E38 P) from a deceased
patient of mine.  The patient was very pleased and I don’t think I crossed
any ethical boundaries.  An all make repair lab may have done the same
thing.  The cost of the new casing would have been expensive, and a lab
would have used an older casing.  That ultimately would have kept my price
down. That savings is then passed on to my patient.  Oticon, however,
would probably look at that and not repaired it. They would see that the
receiver wires had not been mounted in the original place with the wax,
and would indicate that it was repaired by an all make repair lab.  I have
had this happen in the past.  When tested, the aid still met the original
specifications.  As far as Oticons published reports, did the reports
indicate how far out of spec they were? or did they just indicate
different parts?  That becomes the ethical question.  If the specs have
changed outside the manufacturers window, then there is an ethical issue. 
The patients needs have not been met.  As far as the all make labs asking
for “old junker aids” I haven’t seen them ask that.  I would doubt the
labs would use old junker parts unless they met the specs of the needed
part.  The labs don’t want to see the aid back for repair, otherwise the
audiologist won’t send additional hearing aids to them.  If they want to
continue doing repairs, they will make an effort to provide appropriate
service.

I too am grateful we have AMR labs, and will continue to use them when
needed.  I do agree, we have that choice.

K. Sutera



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