Hearing aids: beware of home scams!

Hearing aids: beware of home scams!

Thursday September 7, “Special Envoy” on Europe 2 devoted a subject to fraud in the hearing aid sector, which has experienced a real boom since the implementation of 100% Health. Elderly and hard of hearing people would be the first victims of pseudo- hearing aid specialists.

Hearing concerns us all: in 2023, one in four French adults suffer from hearing problems. A health problem that has been “heard” since January 1, 2021, the “100% Health” system offers all French people benefiting from responsible or supportive complementary health care, audiology, optical and dental equipment fully supported. The devices, sold for 1,400 euros on average, are fully reimbursed by Social Security and by mutual insurance companies, once every four years. A boon that scammers have seized to the detriment of patients.

Home sales supported… but illegal

In the latest issue ofCorrespondent of September 7, the Europe 2 editorial magazine highlighted widespread fraud in the sector. While, according to the Health Insurance convention, hearing aids must be exclusively made by a hearing aid professional (their diploma must be displayed in their office) and door-to-door sales are illegal, the opposite is happening on the market. ground. Since the advent of “100% Health”, many stores specializing in hearing have developed (30% more brands) to the detriment of ethical rules. At the same time, the number of fittings has increased by 90% in three years. Equipment often sold directly to individuals.

This is how Daniel, who is hard of hearing, testifies to having been fitted without a prescription, by a so-called hearing aid specialist who came to do a test at home, with the devices directly on him. Once fitted with a device, the man would not have received any follow-up for the year following the service, once the device was taken care of.

How to ensure the seriousness of the hearing care professional?

The subject had already made headlines last spring, but does not seem to have been resolved. In total, several million euros would have been stolen from Health Insurance, by pseudo hearing aid professionals who go into the business without any diploma and do not hesitate to say they were sent by Health Insurance to make an appointment. . With the risk for the people concerned of ending up with a defective device and without any follow-up.

To avoid pitfalls, Luis Godinho, vice-president of the audioprosthetists’ union, advised in TF1 information last April “To be fitted, you need a prior medical examination and a prescription, as for the rest of the procedures which are reimbursed”. For its part, Health Insurance emphasizes that it is not its practice to call policyholders to offer them hearing assessments.