In the UK the sale of hearing aids is regulated by the hcpc (Health & Care Professions Council) Regulation of Hearing Aid Dispensers includes both a protection of title and protection of function. This means that the following tasks are ‘controlled acts’ which only a registered Hearing Aid Dispenser can perform:
- assessing or testing a person’s hearing; or
- prescribing a hearing aid for a person with a view to a hearing aid being supplied to or provided for that person by way of retail, sale or hire.
Only someone registered as a Hearing Aid Dispenser can perform these controlled acts. Any individual not registered with the hcpc as a Hearing Aid Dispenser, even if they are registered as another profession, could be committing a criminal act if they perform them. Hearing Aid Dispensers are required to conform the hcpc standards of proficiency.
An internet retailer who does not offer face to face consultations will not be able to provide a service that is compliant with hcpc requirements.
Hearing Aids supplied without charge by the NHS are not subject to this regulation.