Wholesale Hearing Limited enables consumers to purchase hearing aids online without the support of a qualified audiologist for their assessment, prescribing, fitting and aftercare, all essential elements to achieving the full benefits of hearing technology.
BSHAA responded to concerns about the company’s trading practices and promptly begun an investigation. The initial review established that there was a case to be answered under the Code of Practice, and the two members were invited to a disciplinary hearing. Both resigned their membership rather than attend the hearing.
To help the Society continue providing professional leadership to its members in a fast-changing world, the hearing proceeded in their absence, giving careful consideration to the available evidence. It concluded that their actions constituted a breach of the Code, which would have led to their expulsion had they not pre-empted this by resigning.
BSHAA’s investigation and disciplinary panel found that the business model employed by the directors does not have sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that they:
- are consistently following the highest standards in the practice and application of hearing aid audiology as expected by BSHAA;
- have made adequate provisions always to discharge their responsibilities to the client, as set out in BSHAA Code of Practice;
- have fulfilled their responsibility to the profession of hearing aid audiology, as set out in the Code of Practice;
- have fully satisfied the expectations of the Advertising Code detailed in the Code of Practice.
The panel also considered that the trading practices risk bringing the profession of audiology into disrepute.
BSHAA has now referred its findings to the regulator under the Fitness to Practice review process to determine whether their actions are also in breach of their clinical registration.
Following this review of clinical practice in audiology, and as it seeks to respond to new technology and growing demands, BSHAA has re-emphasised the imperative that practising audiologists should at all times offer professional guidance to their clients which will enable them to:
- make fully informed decisions about their hearing care needs;
- understand the full implications of their choice of purchase;
- appreciate the importance of seeking professional support to benefit fully from their purchase;
- recognise the value of rehabilitation and the advantage to be gained from professional aftercare.