Chapter 4747: HEARING AID DEALERS

4747.01 Hearing aid dealer definitions.

As used in sections 4747.01 to 4747.15 , inclusive, of the Revised Code:

(A) "Hearing aid" means any wearable instrument or device designed or offered for the purpose of aiding or compensating for impaired human hearing, including all attachments, accessories, and parts thereof, except batteries and cords.

(B) "Practice of dealing in" or "fitting of" hearing aids means the sale of a hearing aid, and the measurement and testing of human hearing by means of an audiometer or by any other means for the purpose of selecting, adapting, and selling a hearing aid to any person, and includes the making of impressions for earmolds.

(C) "Hearing aid dealer" and "hearing aid fitter" mean any person engaged in the practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids.

(D) "Trainee" means any person training to become a licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter.

(E) "Sell" or "sale" means the retail transfer of title or of the right to use by lease, bailment, or any other contract, but excludes a wholesale sale to a distributor or dealer.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.02 Unlicensed practice.

No person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation shall, on or after July 1, 1970, engage in the sale, practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids, advertise or assume such practice, or engage in training to become a licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter without first being licensed as provided in this chapter.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.03 Hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board.

There is hereby created a hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board consisting of seven members. The governor shall appoint each member to the board with the advice and consent of the senate. Three members of the board shall be persons currently engaged in the practice of dealing in and fitting of hearing aids in the state, one member shall be an otolaryngologist, one member shall be a clinical audiologist, and two shall be public members. At least one of the public members shall be at least sixty years of age. No more than one dealer serving on the board at any time shall be franchised by or sell the products of the same hearing aid manufacturer. Each member shall be a resident of the state and, except for the public members, shall have been actively engaged in the member's respective practice or profession for at least five years immediately preceding appointment. The director of health or the director's designated representative shall be an ex officio member. Terms of office shall be for four years, commencing on the twenty-sixth day of January and ending on the twenty-fifth day of January, except that of the members first appointed, one member shall be appointed for two years and two members for three years. Each member shall hold office from the date of the member's appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. All appointments to fill vacancies shall be made in the manner prescribed for regular appointments. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of such term. Any member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until the member's successor takes office, or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. No member shall be reappointed to the board sooner than one year after the expiration of the member's second full term of office. Each member of the board shall receive, as part of the expenses of the board, an amount fixed pursuant to division (J) of section 124.15 of the Revised Code per diem while attending meetings or otherwise engaged in the actual performance of the member's duties with the board. Each member shall also receive, as part of the expenses of the board, an amount for the actual traveling, hotel, and other necessary expenses incurred in the performance of the member's duties. All vouchers of the board shall be approved by the chairperson of the board. The board shall appoint a secretary and may employ, compensate, and prescribe such powers and duties of such officers, employees, and consultants, in accordance with the laws of this state, as are necessary to carry out this chapter. Technical, administrative, or other services shall be performed, insofar as practicable, by personnel of the department of health, and by other state agencies.

Effective Date: 09-29-1997

4747.04 Powers and duties of board.

The hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board shall meet annually to elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson, who shall act as chairperson in the absence of the chairperson. A majority of the board constitutes a quorum. The board shall meet when called by the chairperson. The board shall:

(A) Adopt rules for the transaction of its business;

(B) Design and prepare qualifying examinations for licensing of hearing aid dealers, fitters, and trainees;

(C) Determine whether persons holding similar valid licenses from other states or jurisdictions shall be required to take and successfully pass the appropriate qualifying examination as a condition for licensing in this state;

(D) Determine whether charges made against any licensee warrant a hearing before the board;

(E) Hold hearings to determine the truth and circumstances of all charges filed in writing with the board against any licensee and determine whether any license held by any person shall be revoked, suspended, or reissued;

(F) Determine and specify the length of time each license that is suspended or revoked shall remain suspended or revoked;

(G) Advise and assist the department of health in all matters relating to this chapter;

(H) Deposit all payments collected under this chapter into the general operations fund created under section 3701.83 of the Revised Code to be used in administering and enforcing this chapter;

(I) Establish a list of disqualifying offenses for licensure as a hearing aid dealer or fitter, or for a hearing aid dealer or fitter trainee permit, pursuant to sections 4747.05 , 4747.10 , 4747.12 , and 4776.10 of the Revised Code.

Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as granting to the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board the right to restrict advertising which is not false or misleading, or to prohibit or in any way restrict a hearing aid dealer or fitter from renting or leasing space from any person, firm or corporation in a mercantile establishment for the purpose of using such space for the lawful sale of hearing aids or to prohibit a mercantile establishment from selling hearing aids if the sale would be otherwise lawful under this chapter.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.131, SB 337, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 07-01-1993

4747.05 Application for license.

(A) The hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board shall issue to each applicant, within sixty days of receipt of a properly completed application and payment of two hundred sixty-two dollars, a hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license if the applicant, if an individual:

(1) Is at least eighteen years of age;

(2) Has not committed a disqualifying offense or a crime of moral turpitude, as those terms are defined in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code;

(3) Is free of contagious or infectious disease;

(4) Has successfully passed a qualifying examination specified and administered by the board.

(B) If the applicant is a firm, partnership, association, or corporation, the application, in addition to such information as the board requires, shall be accompanied by an application for a license for each person, whether owner or employee, of the firm, partnership, association, or corporation, who engages in dealing in or fitting of hearing aids, or shall contain a statement that such applications are submitted separately. No firm, partnership, association, or corporation licensed pursuant to this chapter shall permit any unlicensed person to sell or fit hearing aids.

(C)

(1) Subject to divisions (C)(2), (3), and (4) of this section, the board shall not adopt, maintain, renew, or enforce any rule that precludes an individual from receiving or renewing a license issued under this chapter due to any past criminal activity or interpretation of moral character, unless the individual has committed a crime of moral turpitude or a disqualifying offense as those terms are defined in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code. If the board denies an individual a license or license renewal, the reasons for such denial shall be put in writing.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this division, if an individual applying for a license has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor that is not a crime of moral turpitude or a disqualifying offense less than one year prior to making the application, the board may use the board's discretion in granting or denying the individual a license. Except as otherwise provided in this division, if an individual applying for a license has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a felony that is not a crime of moral turpitude or a disqualifying offense less than three years prior to making the application, the board may use the board's discretion in granting or denying the individual a license. The provisions in this paragraph do not apply with respect to any offense unless the board, prior to the effective date of this amendment, was required or authorized to deny the application based on that offense.

In all other circumstances, the board shall follow the procedures it adopts by rule that conform to division (C)(1) of this section.

(3) In considering a renewal of an individual's license, the board shall not consider any conviction or plea of guilty prior to the initial licensing. However, the board may consider a conviction or plea of guilty if it occurred after the individual was initially licensed, or after the most recent license renewal.

(4) The board may grant an individual a conditional license that lasts for one year. After the one-year period has expired, the license is no longer considered conditional, and the individual shall be considered fully licensed.

(D) Each license issued expires on the thirtieth day of January of the year following that in which it was issued.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.131, SB 337, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 06-26-2003

4747.06 License renewal - continuing education.

(A) Each person engaged in the practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids who holds a valid hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license shall apply annually to the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board for renewal of such license under the standard renewal procedure specified in Chapter 4745. of the Revised Code. The board shall issue to each applicant, on proof of completion of the continuing education required by division (B) of this section and payment of one hundred fifty-seven dollars on or before the first day of February, one hundred eighty-three dollars on or before the first day of March, or two hundred ten dollars thereafter, a renewed hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license. No person who applies for renewal of a hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license that has expired shall be required to take any examination as a condition of renewal provided application for renewal is made within two years of the date such license expired.

(B) Each person engaged in the practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids who holds a valid hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license shall complete each year not less than ten hours of continuing professional education approved by the board. On a form provided by the board, the person shall certify to the board, at the time of license renewal pursuant to division (A) of this section, that in the preceding year the person has completed continuing education in compliance with this division and shall submit any additional information required by rule of the board regarding the continuing education. The board shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code establishing the standards continuing education programs must meet to obtain board approval and continuing education reporting requirements. Continuing education may be applied to meet the requirement of this division if it is provided or certified by any of the following:

(1) The national institute of hearing instruments studies committee of the international hearing society;

(2) The American speech-language hearing association;

(3) The American academy of audiology. The board may excuse persons licensed under this chapter, as a group or as individuals, from all or any part of the requirements of this division because of an unusual circumstance, emergency, or special hardship.

Effective Date: 06-26-2003

4747.07 Display of license - duplicate copies of license.

Each person who holds a hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license and engages in the practice of dealing in and fitting of hearing aids shall display such license in a conspicuous place in the person's office or place of business at all times. Each person who maintains more than one office or place of business shall post a duplicate copy of the license at each location. The hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board shall issue duplicate copies of a license upon receipt of a properly completed application and payment of sixteen dollars for each copy requested.

Effective Date: 06-26-2003

4747.08 Qualifying examination.

After July 1, 1970, no person shall be issued a hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license unless such person has successfully taken and passed a qualifying examination. The qualifying examination shall be a thorough testing of knowledge required for the proper selecting, fitting, and sale of hearing aids, but shall not be such that a medical or surgical education is required for successful completion. It shall consist of written and practical portions which shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas:

(A) Basic physics of sound;

(B) The anatomy and physiology of the human ear;

(C) The function and purpose of hearing aids;

(D) Pure tone audiometry, including air conduction and bone conduction testing;

(E) Live voice or recorded voice speech audiometry, including speech reception threshold testing and speech discrimination testing;

(F) Masking techniques;

(G) Recording and evaluation of audiograms and speech audiometry to determine proper selection and adaptation of hearing aids;

(H) Earmold impression techniques. The hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board shall design, prepare, and revise such qualifying examinations as are determined necessary by the board pursuant to this chapter. It shall administer all such qualifying examinations and shall designate the time, place, and date the examinations are held. The board shall also furnish all materials and equipment necessary for the conducting of all qualifying examinations.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.09 Contents of receipt of sale.

Each licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter shall furnish each person supplied with a hearing aid a receipt showing the licensee's signature, the number of his license certificate, the complete address of his place of business, a complete description of the make and model of hearing aid furnished, the full terms of sale, including the terms of guarantee, if any, and if the hearing aid sold is not new, the receipt shall also be clearly marked "used" or "reconditioned," whichever is applicable. Each receipt shall also bear, in type no smaller than that used in the body of the receipt, the following legend: "the purchaser is advised that any examination, fitting, recommendation, or representation made by a licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter in connection with the sale of this hearing aid is not an examination, diagnosis, or prescription made by a person licensed to practice medicine in this state and therefore must not be regarded as medical opinion or advice." Each licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter shall, when dealing with a child sixteen years of age or less, ascertain whether such child has been examined by an otolaryngologist prior to being fitted for a hearing aid. If the licensee determines that such examination has not taken place, he shall recommend to the person legally responsible for the custody of such child that such examination take place and shall so state on a waiver to be specified by the board.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.10 Permit qualifications.

Each person currently engaged in training to become a licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter shall apply to the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board for a hearing aid dealer's and fitter's trainee permit. The board shall issue to each applicant within thirty days of receipt of a properly completed application and payment of one hundred fifty dollars, a trainee permit if such applicant meets all of the following criteria:

(A) Is at least eighteen years of age;

(B) Is the holder of a diploma from an accredited high school, or possesses an equivalent education;

(C) Has not committed a disqualifying offense or a crime of moral turpitude, as those terms are defined in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code;

(D) Is free of contagious or infectious disease.

Subject to the next paragraph, the board shall not deny a trainee permit issued under this section to any individual based on the individual's past criminal history or an interpretation of moral character unless the individual has committed a disqualifying offense or crime of moral turpitude as those terms are defined in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, if an individual applying for a trainee permit has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor that is not a crime of moral turpitude or a disqualifying offense less than one year prior to making the application, the board may use the board's discretion in granting or denying the individual a trainee permit. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, if an individual applying for a trainee permit has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a felony that is not a crime of moral turpitude or a disqualifying offense less than three years prior to making the application, the board may use the board's discretion in granting or denying the individual a trainee permit. The provisions in this paragraph do not apply with respect to any offense unless the board, prior to the effective date of this amendment, was required or authorized to deny the application based on that offense.

In all other circumstances not described in the preceding paragraph, the board shall follow the procedures it adopts by rule that conform to this section.

In considering a renewal of an individual's trainee permit, the board shall not consider any conviction or plea of guilty prior to the issuance of the initial trainee permit. However, the board may consider a conviction or plea of guilty if it occurred after the individual was initially granted the trainee permit, or after the most recent trainee permit renewal. If the board denies an individual for a trainee permit or renewal, the reasons for such denial shall be put in writing. Additionally, the board may grant an individual a conditional trainee permit that lasts for one year. After the one-year period has expired, the permit is no longer considered conditional, and the individual shall be considered to be granted a full trainee permit.

Each trainee permit issued by the board expires one year from the date it was first issued, and may be renewed once if the trainee has not successfully completed the qualifying requirements for licensing as a hearing aid dealer or fitter before the expiration date of such permit. The board shall issue a renewed permit to each applicant upon receipt of a properly completed application and payment of one hundred five dollars. No person holding a trainee permit shall engage in the practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids except while under supervision by a licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.131, SB 337, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 06-26-2003

4747.11 Notice of change of address.

Each person who holds a hearing aid dealer's or fitter's license or trainee permit shall notify the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board in writing of the place or places where he engages or intends to engage in the practice of dealing in and fitting of hearing aids, and shall immediately notify the board in writing of any change in such address or addresses. The board shall keep a record of the past and current place of business of each person who holds a license or permit. Any notice that is required to be given by the board to a person holding a license or permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be mailed to such person by certified mail to the address of his current or most recent place of business as revealed in the records of the board.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.12 Displinary actions.

The hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board may revoke or suspend a license or permit if the person who holds such license or permit:

(A) Is convicted of a disqualifying offense or a crime of moral turpitude as those terms are defined in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code. The record of conviction, or a copy thereof certified by the clerk of the court or by the judge in whose court the conviction occurs, is conclusive evidence of such conviction;

(B) Procured a license or permit by fraud or deceit practiced upon the board;

(C) Obtained any fee or made any sale of a hearing aid by fraud or misrepresentation;

(D) Knowingly employed any person without a license or a person whose license was suspended or revoked to engage in the fitting or sale of hearing aids;

(E) Used or caused or promoted the use of any advertising matter, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, brand, insignia, or any other representation, however disseminated or published, which is misleading, deceptive, or untruthful;

(F) Advertised a particular model or type of hearing aid for sale when purchasers or prospective purchasers responding to the advertisement cannot purchase the specified model or type of hearing aid;

(G) Represented or advertised that the service or advice of a person licensed to practice medicine will be used or made available in the selection, fitting, adjustment, maintenance, or repair of hearing aids when such is not true, or using the words "doctor," "clinic," or similar words, abbreviations, or symbols which connote the medical profession when such use is not accurate;

(H) Is found by the board to be a person of habitual intemperance or gross immorality;

(I) Advertised a manufacturer's product or used a manufacturer's name or trademark in a manner which suggested the existence of a relationship with the manufacturer which did not or does not exist;

(J) Fitted or sold, or attempted to fit or sell, a hearing aid to a person without first utilizing the appropriate procedures and instruments required for proper fitting of hearing aids;

(K) Engaged in the fitting and sale of hearing aids under a false name or an alias;

(L) Engaged in the practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids while suffering from a contagious or infectious disease;

(M) Was found by the board to be guilty of gross incompetence or negligence in the fitting or sale of hearing aids;

(N) Permitted another person to use the licensee's license.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.131, SB 337, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.13 Complaints.

(A) Any person who wishes to make a complaint against any person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation licensed pursuant to this chapter shall submit such complaint in writing to the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board within one year from the date of the action or event upon which the complaint is based. The hearing aid dealers and fitters board shall determine whether the charges in the complaint are of a sufficiently serious nature to warrant a hearing before the board to determine whether the license or permit held by the person complained against shall be revoked or suspended. If the board determines that a hearing is warranted, then it shall fix the time and place of such hearing and deliver or cause to have delivered, either in person or by registered mail, at least twenty days before the date of such hearing, an order instructing the licensee complained against of the date, time, and place where the licensee shall appear before the board. Such order shall include a copy of the complaint against the licensee. The board, and the licensee after receipt of the order and a copy of the complaint made against the licensee, may take depositions in advance of the hearing, provided that each party taking depositions shall give at least five days notice to the other party of the time, date, and place where such depositions shall be taken. Each party shall have the right to attend with counsel the taking of such depositions and may cross-examine the deponent or deponents. Each licensee appearing before the board may be represented by counsel. No person shall have the person's license or permit revoked or suspended without an opportunity to present the person's case at a hearing before the board, and the board shall grant a continuance or adjournment of a hearing date for good cause. Each person whose license or permit is suspended or revoked by the board may appeal such action to the court of common pleas.

(B) The board shall petition the court of common pleas of the county in which a person, firm, partnership, or corporation engages in the sale, practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids, advertises or assumes such practice, or engages in training to become a licensed hearing aid dealer or fitter without first being licensed, for an order enjoining any such acts or practices. The court may grant such injunctive relief upon a showing that the respondent named in the petition is engaging in such acts or practices without being licensed under this chapter.

Effective Date: 09-29-1999

4747.14 Prohibited acts.

No person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation shall:

(A) Sell or barter or offer to sell or barter a hearing aid dealers or fitters license or trainee permit issued by the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board pursuant to sections 4747.05 , 4747.06 , and 4747.10 of the Revised Code;

(B) Purchase or procure or attempt to purchase or procure a hearing aid dealers or fitters license or trainee permit with intent to use such license or permit as evidence of the holder's qualification to engage in the practice of dealing in or fitting of hearing aids;

(C) Use or attempt to use as a valid license or permit a license or permit which has been purchased, fraudulently obtained, counterfeited, materially altered, or suspended or revoked;

(D) Alter a license or permit in any way, shape, or form, except as may be specified by the board;

(E) Willfully and knowingly make a false statement in an application for issuance or renewal of a license or permit.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969

4747.15 Exemptions.

The licensing provisions of this chapter do not apply to:

(A) Any person engaged in the practice of measuring human hearing for the purpose of selection of hearing aids provided that such selection does not result in an actual sale of a hearing aid by such person;

(B) Any practicing physician who is licensed by the Ohio state medical board;

(C) Any audiologist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 4753. of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 11-05-1992

4747.16 Effect of child support default on license.

On receipt of a notice pursuant to section 3123.43 of the Revised Code, the hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board shall comply with sections 3123.41 to 3123.50 of the Revised Code and any applicable rules adopted under section 3123.63 of the Revised Code with respect to a license issued pursuant to this chapter.

Effective Date: 03-22-2001

4747.17 Compliance with law regarding sanctions for human trafficking.

The hearing aid dealers and fitters licensing board shall comply with section 4776.20 of the Revised Code.

Added by 129th General AssemblyFile No.169, HB 247, §1, eff. 3/22/2013.

4747.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates section 4747.02 or 4747.14 of the Revised Code shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than ten nor more than ninety days, or both.

Effective Date: 11-25-1969