If you have medical insurance
Before you buy a hearing aid for your child (18 years old or younger), talk with your insurance provider.
You may have a right under the law for you to have your health insurance cover the cost of buying hearing aids.
Your child should get a Medical Examination
Get the medical examination from an Ear Nose Throat (ENT) Specialist or your medical doctor.
The FDA requires a medical examination before hearing aids can be bought because some causes of hearing loss can be fixed with medicine or surgery. The FDA wants to be sure people really need a hearing aid.
Who can sell hearing aids in Minnesota?
In Minnesota people can buy hearing aids only from professionals who have:
- Minnesota certificate to be a "hearing instrument dispenser" AND/OR
- Minnesota license to be an "audiologist."
How do I know if the hearing instrument dispenser is certified?
Call (651) 201-3729 (Voice only).
Is the audiologist licensed?
Call (651) 201-3729 (Voice only).
Are there complaints about the person selling hearing aids?
Find out. Go to: http://www.mdb.bbb.org
Has the hearing instrument dispenser or audiologist been disciplined?
Call the Department of Health at 651-201-3729 (voice only) to find out and to get a copy of any disciplinary action that has been taken.
You have the right to a copy of your child's audiogram.
If you had an audiogram done for your child to help you select a hearing aid for him/her, the audiologist or hearing instrument dispenser must give you a copy of the audiogram when you request it.
You don't have to purchase the hearing aids from the person that tested your child's hearing.
Minnesota law says you can order hearing aids from the person who tested your child's hearing, from a different audiologist, or from a hearing instrument dispenser.
Have everything said or promised about the hearing aids, warranties, etc, put into the contract.
The law says that you have the right to request that this be done.
If you and the hearing aid seller agree to everything written in the contract, then you should sign your name on the contract. Then the hearing aid seller should also sign his/her name on the same contract. If both of your names are on the same contract, then the hearing aid seller must follow what they wrote in the contract. If they do not follow the contract, they can be sued.
Read the contract.
Is there anything you do not like about the contract? The law says that if you do not like a contract, you do not need to sign it. You can talk to the person selling the hearing aids. Find out if they will change what you do not like. If not, then think of going to a different seller.
When you pick up your child's hearing aids the audiologist or the hearing instrument dispenser must give you three things:
- The User Instructional Booklet for the hearing instruments you are purchasing.
- Hearing aids that are marked permanently and clearly with the name of the company that made or distributed them, the model name or number, serial number, and the year the hearing aids were made.
- A written, 45 calendar day money-back guarantee.
Details about the 45 Calendar Day Money-Back Guarantee
Your child have 45 days on the calendar to try the hearing aids. Three things can happen during the 45 day period.
- If your child likes the hearing aids, then keep them.
- You may need to have your child's hearing aids fixed or changed. If your child needs to have the hearing aids changed or fixed, make an appointment to have the hearing aids fixed with the person who sold them to you. If you cannot meet with the person who sold you the hearing aids, then mail the hearing aids with a written letter to them (MCDHH recommends that it be a certified letter). For every 24 hours you do not have the hearing aids because of repairs, another day is added to the 45 calendar days.
- You can return your child's hearing aids. If you do not want the hearing aids, you must return the hearing aids before the 45 days on the calendar are over. You must include a written letter that says that you want to stop the sale. The audiologist or hearing instrument dispenser has 30 calendar days to give the money back to you.
State law allows the audiologist or hearing instrument to keep up to $250 of the charge for the hearing aid if you cancel the contract and return the hearing aid in the 45 day guarantee period to them.
The $250 is to pay for the time the audiologist or dispenser worked trying to get the hearing aid to work for your child. Talk to the hearing instrument dispenser or audiologist; he/she might be okay with giving you all your money back or keeping less than the $250 dollar cancellation fee. Remember, if the audiologist agrees to charge less or nothing at all, have the promise written in the contract.
Getting your child's old hearing aids back that you gave to the audiologist or a dispenser for a discount.
If you and the person selling you hearing aids agree, you may give him or her your old hearing aids. The dispenser or audiologist may then give you a reduced cost to buy your child's new hearing aids. (Remember to have this promise written into the contract.) If you decide to cancel the contract within the 45 day period and ask for your child's old hearing aids back, the hearing aid seller must give your old hearing aids back to you.
(MNCDHH would like to thank the generous help of the staff at the Health Occupations Program (Minnesota Department of Health) and the Hearing Instrument Dispenser Advisory Council for their hard work in helping MNCDHH create this website.)