Risks of buying hearing devices online


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With the high prices of professionally fitted hearing aids, costing anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, a number of companies have started to sell hearing amplification devices online. FirstCoast News, based in Florida, USA, recently reported on the risks of buying these devices over the internet or via mail order.

“People are turning to the internet trying to find something that they think will be affordable,” says hearing aid specialist Alan Kelso. Some of these devices are sold for less than USD 10, but in this area, the article reports, you really do get what you pay for. According to Kelso, he has seen an increase in the number of patients who tried these devices and complained that they simply don’t work. “It's no more than taking an amp and sticking it in your ear,” he explains in very direct terms.

The number one risk related to inexpensive hearing devices that you can obtain on the internet is, of course, quality. But there is a lesser known risk which is that, in the state of Florida, it is illegal to buy them online. Legally it is a criminal offence in this State, and can in theory result in a jail sentence. The Department of Health has, however, indicated that no one has ever been prosecuted for buying hearing aids online, but warning letters have been sent to the companies selling the amplification devices.

According to Kelso, online and mail order devices are prohibited for the simple reason that ill-fitting aids can cause long-term damage, despite reassuring safety information given on the websites by suppliers.

Source: FirstCoast News