It is important that qualified personnel carry out audiological assessment and the prescribing and fitting of hearing aids. This is necessary to ensure that a treatable medical condition, or a medical condition which requires intervention, is not missed. It also ensures safe impression taking procedures are utilized and appropriate amplification is prescribed following audiometric evaluation so as not to put at risk the patient's residual hearing.
ISHAA membership is available to persons who are involved in private practice in the Republic of Ireland who meet a minimum qualification criteria, who agree to abide by the Code of Professional Conduct of the Society, have a practice premises available where audiometric testing may be carried out in accordance with the Code, engage in the Society Scheme for Continual Professional Development and agree to abide by the Society's rules and regulations. It must be stressed that because a firm employs one of our members it does not necessarily follow that all the persons employed by that firm are ISHAA members or hold a qualification. The Society site contains a comprehensive up to date list of ISHAA members.
The European Communities (Medical Devices) Regulations 1994 regulated the prescribing of "custom made" hearing aid Inserts/Moulds. In the regulations it was specified that these should only be made for a patient in accordance with a prescription of a person authorized by virtue of his professional qualifications to do so. They should not be fitted unless they have been made in accordance with the Directive. These regulations came into force in the State on the 14th of June 1998 under S.I. No 252 of 1994. The prescriber mentioned in the EU Regulations is the person who instructs the manufacturer to make up a custom medical device for a named patient by providing him with written instructions (audiogram, speech tests and other measurements including provision of ear impressions).
Despite this regulation there are a significant number of persons without professional qualifications practicing in the State. An internet retailer who does not offer face to face consultations will not be able to provide a service that is compliant to these regulations.