Attorney General Ford Cautions Consumers to Watch Out for Deceptive Sales Tactics Related to Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

May 12th, 2021

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford warns Nevadans to be aware of misleading representations in the marketing of some over-the-counter hearing aids. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relaxed restrictions on the sales of hearing aids. While some companies are selling devices that can be purchased for a low price, many of them are sound amplifiers and not FDA-approved medical devices.

Furthermore, some over-the-counter devices may display “FDA Registration Certificates” that look like official government documents and may even have the FDA logo. These certificates may be displayed next to photos of the devices on the website, giving the impression that the device has received FDA approval.

“Although these devices are easier to obtain than traditional hearing aids, consumers should be aware that no over-the-counter hearing aid has received FDA approval,” saidAG Ford. “Nevadans, always remember to do your research before purchasing and to be suspicious of deals that seem too good to be true.”

Medical device companies are required to register and list their devices with the FDA. When a medical device company registers and lists its devices, this indicates only that the company has provided certain information to the FDA. However, it does not indicate FDA approval, clearance, or authorization of the device. Information about listed medical devices can be found on the FDA’s Medical Devices Databases page.

Traditionally, hearing aids are prescribed and fitted by a hearing healthcare professional. Over-the-counter-devices may be offered without consultation, and consumers may not receive warnings of the risks associated with them. These risks include improper use of the device, which could cause further harm to the user, and the inability to be screened for underlying and contributing conditions, such as an ear infection requiring medical attention, among other issues.

If you are considering buying a hearing aid, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following tips:

Consider making an appointment with a hearing specialist who can give an opinion about the type of device you should use;

Do not rely only upon testimonials and good reviews on a company’s website. Research the company through search engines, the Better Business Bureau, and other trusted sources;

Locate and familiarize yourself with the company’s return and refund policy prior to purchasing a device; and

Be aware that the FDA has not approved any over-the-counter hearing devices. These devices may not work for those with significant hearing loss.

If you believe you have encountered a deceptive act regarding the sale or marketing of a medical device, please file a complaint about your experience with our office.