advertisement

Hearing management

Updated 07 December 2017

Illegal hearing aids 'dangerous'

The HPCSA has warned the public against buying hearing aids from retail pharmacies as they could damge one's hearing.

The Speech, Language and Hearing Professional Board of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has warned the public against purchasing hearing aids or amplifiers directly from retail pharmacies and other non-registered persons – not only are these pharmacies acting in contravention of the law, but these amplifiers could cause irreversible hearing loss to normal hearing members of the public.

Complaints have been received by the Board concerning the dispensing and selling of “hearing aids” to the general public by unregistered people working at certain national pharmacies and retailers.

In breach of the law

In their advertising, “hearing aids” are dispensed by trained nurses.  These nurses, who do not fall under the ambit of the HPCSA, are placing the public at risk by illegally administering treatment for clinically unproven hearing problems by supplying unprescribed amplifiers and are as such in breach of the law and also practicing outside their scope of practice.

“The illegal dispensing of amplifiers is misleading to the public who assume that the person is attending to their hearing condition, which is not the case, as no qualified, professional consultation or hearing test can be provided by a nurse, says Prof Shajila Singh, Chairperson of the Professional Board for Speech, Language and Hearing professions.  “Unprescribed amplification can damage the hearing of normal hearing individuals and such hearing loss could be irreversible.”

“We believe this form of advertising is irresponsible and the matter has been escalated to our legal services department for further engagement with the pharmaceutical retailers and South African Nursing Council (SANC).”

The public should be aware of the impact of noise and increased intensity levels on hearing and are advised to only consult registered audiologists for professional hearing tests, should they suspect any hearing difficulty.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Minette Lister graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Pathology (Audiology) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville in 2015. Thereafter, she completed her compulsory year of community service at Phoenix Assessment and Therapy Centre in Durban. In 2017, Minette started working for Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. She is passionate about working with children and adults to diagnose and manage hearing loss using state of the art technology. Minette offers hearing screening programmes for newborn and high-risk babies, as well as school-aged children, in order to decrease the incidence of late or unidentified hearing loss.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules