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WILLOUGHBY HEARING AIDS INC.: OREGON'S HEARING AID LICENSING STRICTEST IN NATION

 PORTLAND, Ore., July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Oregon's hearing aid licensing laws, established in 1959, the first of their kind in the United States, are among the strictest in the nation, Scott Austen, a spokesperson for Willoughby Hearing Aids Inc., said today. The company is the largest retail hearing aid dealer in Oregon.
 Austen was responding to an NBC-TV Dateline program, aired Tuesday night (July 6, 1993) which criticized the industry by showing disgruntled employees in New York State, the one state in the United States that does not license hearing aid dealers or have conditions governing the sale of hearing aids.
 Oregon Licensing and Testing
 Oregon, in contrast, requires that all hearing aid dealers be licensed. Classroom training is required by consultants before taking the licensing tests which are based on written and practical examination. Topics of study include audio metric testing, otoscopic examinations, medical referral criteria, hearing aid fitting, sanitation and safety, follow up care, state licensing laws and FDA regulations to list a few. Many dispensers in Oregon also take a national board certification exam after they have completed two years of practical experience.
 In addition, all hearing aid dealers must obtain an additional nine hours of continuing education every year to keep current with industry standards and product improvements.
 Consumer Complaints
 Last year, Oregon's 355 hearing aid dealers sold 28,000 hearing aids and only 30 complaints were filed by consumers with the State of Oregon Health Division, a ratio of 0.001 percent.
 Consumer Protection
 In addition, Oregon law allows consumers to return hearing aids for up to 30 days after a purchase.
 Currently, 355 Oregonians are licensed to sell hearing aids in the state. Willoughby has 30 employees and 35 dispensers who sell and service hearing aids at over 140 locations throughout Oregon including central and eastern Oregon. They also provide in-home services for house-bound seniors.
 -0- 7/13/93
 /CONTACT: Jason Reynolds of The Creative Factory, 503-225-0686, for Willoughby Hearing Aids/


CO: Willoughby Hearing Aids Inc. ST: Oregon IN: HEA SU:

JH-SB -- SE011 -- 1119 07/13/93 18:16 EDT
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Date:Jul 13, 1993
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