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Hear this: ACCC warns on hearing aid scams

The ACCC recently reported that the hearing-aid industry is largely self-regulated, which serves as a warning for those seeking impartial advice.


Getting a hearing aid should be a simple affair. However, commissions have highlighted that the industry is self-regulated, so you need to keep your ear to the ground to avoid being ripped off.

In Australia, one in six people currently experience hearing loss and that figure is expected to rise to one in four by 2050.

With many people in need of hearing aids, which range in cost from $1500 to $15,000 per pair, the industry has captured the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

In 2017, it identified three key issues via a survey of clinicians and consumers.

The ACCC report revealed some sales are being driven by commissions and incentives on the sale of hearing aids, rather than the needs of the customer.

Several of the large hearing aid clinics are owned by hearing aid manufacturers.

The cost of hearing aids could vary widely. Some products are available online for half the cost that customers had been quoted.

Consumers were not always happy with the performance of the hearing aids they were sold and some consumers were more vulnerable to persistent sales techniques and methods because of age, age-related health issues and/or income.

The watchdog has recently taken further steps to ensure consumers are protected, taking action against several industry players.  

The ACCC encourages consumers purchasing hearing aids to compare offers, ask questions, read independent online reviews on the hearing aid and the clinic. Never feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. You may want to seek a second opinion from another hearing clinic.

Taking someone with you to the appointment can help. The ACCC offers other tips to ensure your appointment delivers what you need:

  • Ask the clinician to explain your audiogram so you understand your hearing loss.
  • Discuss the range of hearing aids and devices and the different features and prices. You may not need all of the features.
  • Ask why a particular hearing aid is being recommended. You have the right to ask if they are being paid more to sell particular hearing aids or particular brands.
  • Ask for a quote, including the type and cost of hearing aid being recommended.
  • Having a copy of the hearing test results, including the audiogram, can make it easier to shop around for the best deal.
  • Check if the hearing clinic offers a free trial period and be clear about any conditions including its end date.
  • Keep any paperwork and receipts of hearing aids and devices purchased.