LICENSURE OF HEARING INSTRUMENT SPECIALISTS
As used in this subchapter, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
“Deceptive advertising" means creating, using, or promoting the use of any advertising material, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, brand, insignia, or other representation, however disseminated or published, which is misleading, false, or untruthful.
“Examining board" means the hearing and speech examining board.
“Hearing aid" means any wearable instrument or device designed for or offered for the purpose of aiding or compensating for impaired human hearing and any parts, attachments or accessories of such an instrument or device, except batteries and cords.
“Hearing instrument specialist" means any person who is or is required to be licensed under s. 459.05
to engage in the practice of dealing in or fitting hearing aids.
“License" means a license issued by the department under s. 459.05
, to hearing instrument specialists.
“Practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids" means the measurement of human hearing by means of an audiometer or by any other means accepted by the examining board solely for the purpose of making selections, adaptations or sales of hearing aids intended to compensate for impaired hearing. This term also includes making impressions for ear molds.
“Sell" or “sale" means a transfer for a consideration of title or of the right to use.
“Trainee permit" means a temporary permit issued while the applicant is in training to become a licensed hearing instrument specialist.
License required to sell and fit hearing aids. 459.02(1)(1)
No person may engage in the practice of selling or fitting hearing aids or display a sign or in any other way advertise or represent himself or herself as a person who practices the fitting or sale of hearing aids unless he or she holds a valid license issued under this subchapter or a valid license or permit to practice audiology issued under subch. II
. The license required by s. 459.05
shall be conspicuously posted in his or her office or place of business as registered with the department at all times. Duplicate licenses shall be issued by the department under this subchapter to valid license holders operating more than one office without additional payment.
Nothing in this subchapter or subch. II
shall prohibit any corporation or mercantile establishment which maintains an established business address from engaging in the business of selling or offering for sale hearing aids at retail without a license, provided that for the purpose of selling and fitting hearing aids it employs persons licensed under this subchapter or persons issued licenses or permits to practice audiology under subch. II
Receipt required to be furnished to a person supplied with hearing aid. 459.03(1)
A hearing instrument specialist who engages in the practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids shall deliver to each person supplied with a hearing aid a receipt. The receipt shall contain the signature and show the business address and license title and number of the hearing instrument specialist, together with specifications as to the make and model of the hearing aid furnished and full terms of sale clearly stated. If a hearing aid which is not new is sold, the receipt and the container thereof must be clearly marked as “used" or “reconditioned" whichever is applicable.
The receipt shall contain all of the following information, that shall be set out in not less than 8-point type:
The terms of the guarantee, if there is any given; and
A statement that the purchaser has been advised by the hearing instrument specialist that any examination or representation made by the hearing instrument specialist in connection with the fitting and selling of this hearing aid is not an examination, diagnosis, or prescription by a person licensed to practice medicine in this state and therefore must not be regarded as medical opinion or advice.
Medical exam before being fitted.
A hearing aid shall not be fitted for or sold to a person 17 years of age or younger unless within 90 days prior to the fitting the person to be fitted has been examined by a physician to determine whether or not he or she has any physical deficiencies that would prohibit the effective use of a hearing aid.
History: 1979 c. 162
s. 38 (4)
; 2003 a. 270
The seller of a hearing aid shall give to the purchaser a personal guarantee that is at least identical in its terms to the guarantee of the manufacturer of the hearing aid.
Issuance of license. 459.05(1)
The department shall issue to each applicant who passes an examination under s. 459.06
and pays the fee specified in s. 440.05 (1)
Whenever the examining board determines that another state or jurisdiction has requirements equivalent to or higher than those in effect in the state for the practice of fitting and selling hearing aids, and that such state or jurisdiction has a program equivalent to or stricter than the program for determining whether applicants in this state are qualified to fit and sell hearing aids, the department may issue a license by reciprocity to applicants who hold valid licenses to deal in or fit hearing aids in such other state or jurisdiction, who pay the fee specified in s. 440.05 (2)
and who are otherwise qualified for licensure. No applicant for a license by reciprocity under this subsection shall be required to submit to or undergo a qualifying examination, if the applicant personally appears at the next meeting of the examining board after filing the application to answer any questions the examining board has.
See also ch. HAS 7
, Wis. adm. code.
License by examination. 459.06(1)
Applicants may obtain a license by successfully passing a qualifying examination, provided the applicant is 18 years of age or older, does not have an arrest or conviction record, subject to ss. 111.321
, and has an education equivalent to a 4-year course in an accredited high school.
The examination shall include but not be limited to:
Tests of knowledge in the following areas as they pertain to the fitting of hearing aids:
Practical tests of proficiency in the following techniques as they pertain to the fitting of hearing aids:
Pure tone audiometry, including air conduction testing and bone conduction testing.
Live voice or recorded voice speech audiometry including speech reception threshold testing and most comfortable loudness measurements and measurements of tolerance thresholds.
Recording and evaluation of audiograms and speech audiometry to determine proper selection and adaption of a hearing aid.
The applicant for license by examination shall appear at a time and place as the examining board designates, to be examined by means of written and practical tests in order to demonstrate that he or she is qualified to practice the fitting of hearing aids. Such examinations shall be conducted at least twice a year and at such other times and places designated by the examining board.
Applications for examinations shall be submitted to the examining board at least 30 days before the date set for the examination and shall be accompanied by the examination fee specified under s. 440.05 (1)
Temporary trainee permit. 459.07(1)
An applicant who fulfills the requirements regarding age, character and high school education as set forth in s. 459.06
, may obtain a trainee permit upon application to the examining board. The name of the licensee who is supervising the trainee shall appear on the face of the permit.
Upon receiving an application under this section, accompanied by the fee under s. 440.05 (6)
, the examining board may grant a trainee permit which may entitle the applicant to practice fitting of hearing aids for a period of one year. A person holding a valid hearing instrument specialist license issued under this subchapter or a valid license to practice audiology issued under s. 459.24 (3)
shall be responsible for the direct supervision and training of the applicant and shall be liable for all negligent acts and omissions of the trainee in the fitting of hearing aids.
A trainee permit may be renewed or regranted once if the trainee shows that he or she had sufficient cause for being unable to complete the requirements for permanent licensure.
The examining board shall encourage the establishment of educational courses for the training of all persons wishing to become licensed hearing instrument specialists.
Notice to department of place of practice; notice to holders of license; how given. 459.08(1)
A person who holds a license shall notify the department in writing or in accordance with other notification procedures approved by the department of the regular address of the places where he or she engages or intends to engage in the practice of fitting or selling hearing aids. The licensee shall inform the board of any changes in these addresses within 30 days of the change.
The department shall keep a record of the places of practice of persons who hold licenses.
Any notice required to be given by the department to a person who holds a license shall be mailed to the person by registered or certified mail at the address of the last place of practice of which he or she has notified the department.
Calibration of audiometric equipment.
Audiometric equipment used in the evaluation of hearing sensitivity for the fitting and sale of hearing aids shall be calibrated periodically, as specified by rule by the examining board.
Renewal and posting of license. 459.09(1)
Each person issued a license under this subchapter shall, on or before the applicable renewal date specified under s. 440.08 (2) (a)
, do all of the following:
Submit with the renewal application proof that he or she completed, within the 2 years immediately preceding the date of his or her application, 20 hours of continuing education programs or courses of study approved or required under rules promulgated under s. 459.095
. This paragraph does not apply to an applicant for renewal of a license that expires on the first renewal date after the date on which the examining board initially granted the license.
A licensee shall keep a license issued under this subchapter conspicuously posted in his or her office or place of business at all times. Where more than one office is operated by the licensee, duplicate licenses shall be issued by the department for posting in each location.
The examining board shall do all of the following:
Promulgate rules establishing the criteria for approval of continuing education programs or courses of study required for renewal of a license under s. 459.09
and for approval of the sponsors and cosponsors of continuing education programs or courses of study.
Approve continuing education programs and courses of study in accordance with the criteria established under sub. (1)
In consultation with the department, promulgate rules that require each person issued a license under this subchapter to whom s. 459.09 (1) (b)
applies to complete a specified continuing education program or course of study to ensure competence with respect to a matter related to the practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids if the examining board has received a significant number of consumer complaints about the matter or if the examining board otherwise determines that there is a need for such a requirement. Rules promulgated under this subsection shall establish criteria for the examining board's approval of the continuing education program or course of study and of sponsors and cosponsors of the continuing education program or course of study. The rules shall also require the examining board to administer, prior to the continuing education program or course of study, an examination on the matter that is the subject of the continuing education program or course of study and to waive a requirement to complete the continuing education program or course of study if a person granted a license under this subchapter passes the examination. A person who takes an examination specified in this subsection shall pay the fee specified in s. 440.05 (1) (b)
History: 1997 a. 49
; 2003 a. 270
See also ch. HAS 8
, Wis. adm. code.
Disciplinary grounds. 459.10(1)
Subject to subch. II of ch. 111
and the rules adopted under s. 440.03 (1)
, the examining board may reprimand the licensee or permit holder or revoke, suspend, limit or deny the trainee permit or license, or any combination thereof, of any person who has done any of the following:
Made any false statement or given any false information in connection with an application for a license or trainee permit or for renewal or reinstatement of a license or trainee permit.
Been issued a license or trainee permit through error.
Been adjudicated mentally incompetent by a court.
Been found guilty of an offense the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids.
Violated this subchapter or ch. 440
or any federal or state statute or rule which relates to the practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids.
Practiced as a hearing instrument specialist while the person's ability to practice was impaired by alcohol or other drugs or physical or mental disability or disease.
Made a substantial misrepresentation in the course of practice which was relied upon by a client or patient.
Failed to conduct a direct observation of the ear canal of a person for whom a hearing aid is purchased.
Engaged in conduct which evidenced a lack of knowledge or ability to apply principles or skills of the practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids.
Engaged in unprofessional conduct. In this subsection, “unprofessional conduct" means the violation of any standard of professional behavior which through experience, state statute or administrative rule has become established in the practice of fitting and dealing in hearing aids.
Obtained or attempted to obtain compensation by fraud or deceit.
Knowingly employed directly or indirectly, to perform any work regulated under this subchapter, any person not licensed or not holding a trainee permit under this subchapter, or whose license or trainee permit has been suspended or revoked.
Permitted another person to use his or her license or trainee permit.
Sold a hearing aid for use by a person who was not given tests by a hearing instrument specialist or an audiologist licensed under this chapter or in another state using appropriate procedures and instrumentation or without proper measurement of the functional intensity and range of the person's hearing.
Intentionally or negligently misrepresented the cause of a hearing impairment or the cure of a hearing impairment by the use of a hearing aid.