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Attorney General Nessel Issues Consumer Alert on Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids
May 12, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a consumer alert urging consumers to be on the watch for companies using misleading sales tactics to sell over-the-counter hearing devices, especially online or by mail order.
Dozens of companies have entered the over-the-counter hearing aid market since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relaxed restrictions on the sales of hearing aids in 2017. Many of the products sold by these companies are actually classified as Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAP), not FDA-approved medical devices.
"Consumers must remain proactive because, as we have seen time and time again, what looks like a good deal is not always a legitimate one," Nessel said. "My office is committed to holding companies that use these deceptive practices accountable. If you've fallen victim to these tactics, contact my office immediately."
Sellers of these phony products often entice consumers via websites advertising deals for much less than what a traditional FDA-approved hearing aid would cost. According to a recent bulletin issued by the FDA, these companies often market their products as being "FDA registered" to imply FDA approval, but a registered product is not the same as an FDA-approved product.
Before purchasing over-the-counter hearing aids, keep the following in mind:
- The FDA has not approved any over-the-counter hearing aids. Over-the-counter hearing aids are not regulated and may simply be PSAP, which may be of poor quality and not work for those with hearing loss.
- Research the seller on the Better Business Bureau website or another objective consumer review site.
- Consider getting a hearing screening and opinion from a hearing specialist who can tell you whether an over-the-counter hearing device will work for you.
- Remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
As always, your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General's website, or by calling 877-765-8388.