THAT 70 SHOW The History of the “30-Day Trial Period” for Hearing Aids

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It is an undeniable fact that hearing instrument dispensing provides an important source of identity— and revenue—for the profession of audiology. According to Kochkin (2005), patients identify audiologists as dispensing well over one-half of the hearing instruments in the United States today, compared with 22 percent in 1984. Prior to 1978, however, audiologists were prohibited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) from dispensing hearing aids at all, due primarily to ethical concerns regarding objectivity and conflicts of interest. The focus of this article is to evaluate the events leading up to the change in the Code of Ethics and its ultimate impact on audiology and the formation of the American Academy of Audiology in 1988. Now that the Academy is “all grown up,” celebrating its 21st birthday in January (January 30 is Founders' Day), it makes sense to reminisce about some of our youthful indiscretions, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

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