Que penser des audioprothésistes à domicile ?

Is it really reasonable to have a device at home or in a retirement home, as some companies offer today? Not really, and hearing care professional Brice Jantzem explains why.

The phenomenon is very recent. For a little less than two years, newly set up companies have been multiplying to canvass individuals and retirement homes in order to offer – after screening – hearing aids turnkey to potential customers who are certainly delighted not to have to travel. The problem ? All of this is as illegal as it is ineffective…

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Benefits prohibited by law

To understand the origins of these new methods, we have to go back to January 2021 and the introduction of the 100% Health device. “It really was a game-changer, explains Brice Jantzem, audioprosthetist and Vice-President of the Union of Audioprosthetists. The fact that entry-level devices are now fully reimbursed attracts new players who have only one goal: to take advantage of the windfall and pocket the 1,900 euros from the reimbursement of social security and mutual insurance.

So many opportunists who nevertheless act outside the law, “which prohibits, since the creation of the audioprosthetist diploma, homelessness, canvassing and door-to-door selling, among other things. For example, it requires us to have an approved room with lower levels of background noise and reverberation to certain standards to ensure the proper conduct of the examinations.”

Because of course, the problem is not only regulatory : “If you get a hearing aid in poor conditions, there is a nine out of ten chance that the device will not be worn, continues the expert. A hearing care professional is not a home hairdresser. To fit someone, he needs bulky equipment, to carry out tests and adjustments, to listen to the patient and above all to provide follow-up!”.

However : “Often these companies do not employ hearing aid professionals, but salespeople. You just have to look at the ads posted on the internet to realize this…”

Soon new solutions?

Taking advantage of the increase in dependent people and a certain ignorance of nursing homes in this area, these companies are developing today “in a totally anarchic way. Today there are about ten in France. And they display fake Google reviews. Some have more than 600 testimonials, while leading audioprosthetists in the field and who have been practicing for 40 years, only have fifty…”

If the Social Security – which reminds on Ameli that home fittings are prohibited – has started a campaign of control and regulation, it is unfortunately a safe bet that some will still benefit from the windfall for some time. Quits “to offer devices to people who don’t need them. Sometimes simple amplifiers are enough…”

So what to do? Ask the right questions and “find solutions for those who need devices but cannot move”, explains the one who is also Vice-President of the Union of Audioprosthetists. “Except that the travels of the real audioprosthetists have a cost… which should not be financed by inappropriate or oversized aids. We therefore have to think about all that with the public authorities. We are moving forward!”

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