Code of Ethics

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Code of Ethics of the International Hearing Society


Members of the International Hearing Society (IHS) are to abide by the Code of Ethics as stated herein. These principles of professional conduct are intended to provide the best service for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and to guide hearing healthcare professionals in their relations with each other and the public in general.  


This is a Code of Ethics for those engaged in the evaluation/testing of human hearing and in the selection, ordering the use of, counseling, fitting, dispensing, and servicing of hearing instruments. This Code sets standards of professional integrity and practice including relationships with patients, colleagues, and the general public.  


Ethical principles are standards by which the profession and the individual IHS Member determine the propriety of their conduct. Adherence to these standards is required for membership in IHS, and further serves to assure public confidence in the integrity of the services of IHS Members in this profession. It is incumbent on all hearing healthcare professionals to abide by all laws, rules, and regulations applicable to hearing aids and the dispensing of hearing instruments.  


The basic principle is an accepted Code of Ethical Conduct for IHS Members.  


In order that we can best serve individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and contribute toward their achieving their communication goals and needs, we, the members of IHS, pledge ourselves to abide by this Code of Ethics:  

  1. We shall state only the true facts in our public announcements and advertising of hearing instruments and related products and we shall not, in any way, mislead or misrepresent in regard to their performance, appearance, benefits elements, and use.

  2. We shall provide thorough and ethical consulting services when we recommend and dispense instruments, including the appropriate testing and fitting suitable for the patient's particular type of hearing loss.  

  3. We shall, at all times, provide the best possible service to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, offering counsel, understanding, and technical assistance contributing toward their deriving the maximum benefit from their hearing instruments.  

  4. We shall constantly encourage and support research, cooperating with medical and other hearing healthcare professionals and societies to employ the maximum accumulation of scientific knowledge and technical skills in the evaluation/testing of human hearing for the selection, ordering the use of, fitting, and maintenance of hearing instruments.  


The IHS Member engaged in the practice of evaluating/testing human hearing and in the selection, ordering the use of, counseling, fitting, dispensing, and servicing of hearing instruments, shall hold paramount the welfare of the patient.  

A. Continuing Education

It is in the best interest of the patient that the IHS Member engage and participate in continuing education during each year of active practice.  

B. Referral
The IHS Member shall utilize all resources available, including referral to other specialists as needed.  

C. Services Rendered
The IHS Member shall accept and seek full responsibility for the exercise of judgment within, but not limited to, the areas of their expertise. These services include the evaluation/testing of human hearing, and the selection, ordering the use of, counseling, fitting, dispensing, and servicing of hearing instruments. The IHS Member shall not guarantee outstanding results from the use of hearing instruments, products, services, or counseling when such is not the case. They shall exercise caution not to mislead persons to expect results that cannot be predicted.  

D. Confidential Aspects of Patient Relations
The IHS Member shall hold in professional confidence all information and professional records concerning a patient and use such data only for the benefit of the patient or as the law demands.  

E. Conduct in Regard to Colleagues and Hearing Healthcare Professions
The IHS Member must keep the welfare of the patient uppermost at all times. They shall avoid disparaging, pejorative, and/or inaccurate remarks or comments about professional colleagues or members of the hearing healthcare professions. They shall conduct themself at all times in a manner which will enhance the status of the profession. They shall be supportive to individuals and organizations with whom they is associated to their mutual benefit. They shall not agree to practice under terms or conditions that tend to interfere with or impair the proper exercise of their professional judgment and skill, which tend to cause a deterioration of the quality of their service, or which require them to consent to unethical conduct. 

F. Maintenance of Records
The IHS Member shall initiate and maintain records of services provided to patients. All laws or rules and regulations pertaining to keeping of records must be carefully observed.  

G. Fees and Compensation
The IHS Member shall not participate with other health professionals or any other person in agreements to divide fees or to cause financial or other exploitation when rendering their professional services.  

H. Delay in Providing Services
The IHS Member shall not delay furnishing care to patients served professionally, without just cause.  

I. Discontinuance of Services
The IHS Member shall not discontinue services to patients without providing reasonable notice of withdrawal, providing all contractual agreements have been satisfied.  

J. Safety and Sanitation
The IHS Member shall at all times practice accepted standards of infection control and shall exercise reasonable precaution to maximize patient safety. 

K. Mail Order/Internet Sales
The IHS Member shall observe laws and rules governing the sale and delivery of hearing aids, including those governing prescription, self-fitting, and over-the-counter hearing aids. They shall not sell prescription hearing aids to a patient via mail order or internet without establishing in-person and direct, face-to-face contact.  


The IHS Member has the duty to observe all laws, rules, and regulations applicable to the dispensing of hearing instruments and business practices; to uphold the dignity and honor of the profession, and to accept its ethical principles. They shall not engage in any activity that will bring discredit to the profession and shall expose, without fear or favor, illegal or unethical conduct in the profession.  

  1. In the event it appears that an IHS Member is in violation of this Code, fellow IHS Members are encouraged to report circumstances to IHS.  
  2. The IHS Member shall not pursue any course of action that may be harmful or detrimental to the Society, its members, or the public we serve. 
  3. The IHS Member holding an official or elective position in IHS or an affiliate chapter shall not use such a position for self-aggrandizement.  
  4. The IHS Member who has served on an exam writing committee or who has knowledge of the contents of the exam shall not be involved with or hold a pre-test class or review course to prepare exam candidates(s) for the exam for a period of not less than five years following their involvement with the exam committee.  


The IHS Member who chooses to advertise their services shall use only material considered ethical and complying with laws, rules, and regulations governing advertising. The IHS Member shall endorse the following statements of principle that assure protection of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and the public in general.  

Advertising shall tell the truth and shall reveal significant facts, the concealment of which would mislead the public, and shall not dispense any product, or part hereof, representing that it is new, unused, or rebuilt, when such is not the fact.  

Advertisers shall be willing and able to provide substantiation of claims made.  

Taste and Decency 
Advertising shall be free of statements, illustrations, or implications that are offensive to good taste or public decency.  

Advertising shall offer merchandise or service on its merits, and shall refrain from attacking competitors or disparaging their products, services, or methods of doing business.  

Bait Advertisement 
Advertising shall offer only merchandise or services that are readily available for purchase during the advertised period at the advertised price; e.g., it is unethical for any IHS Member to advertise a particular model or kind of instrument to obtain prospects for the sale of a different model or kind of instrument than that advertised, or to imply a relationship with a manufacturer and trade names that does not exist.  

Guarantees and Warrantees 
Advertising of guarantees and warranties shall be explicit. Advertising of any guarantee or warranty shall clearly and conspicuously disclose its nature and extent, the manner in which the guarantor or warrantor will perform and the identity of the guarantor or warrantor. It is unethical to use or cause to be used any guarantee or warranty that is false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair, whether in respect to the quality, construction serviceability, performance, or method of manufacture of any industry product, or in respect to the terms and conditions of refund of purchase price thereof, or in any other respect.  


Maintenance of high standards by all IHS Members is in the best interest of persons served professionally, the IHS Member, and the profession.

  1. IHS Members are responsible for knowing and understanding all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and it shall be unethical for the IHS Member to willfully and knowingly violate any law, rule, or regulation applicable to the dispensing of hearing instruments.   

    It shall be unethical to use such terms or any abbreviation of such terms as doctor, physician, otologist, board certified in hearing instrument sciences, Audioprosthologist, clinical audiologist, medical audiologist, research audiologist, industrial audiologist, or any other title/abbreviation when such is not the fact. When holding a doctorate or other degree from a profession other than hearing sciences, delineation of such credential shall be required.   

  2. It shall be unethical to use any symbol or depiction that connotes the medical profession.  
  3. It shall be unethical to use any terms that may reasonably be said to confuse the public that a private business practice has some relationship to a governmental or non-profit medical, educational, or research institution.  


The IHS Member shall not discriminate in the delivery of professional service on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or marital status.  


The IHS Member is encouraged to associate with groups and organizations having as their objectives the betterment of the profession.  


All members of IHS pledge themselves to observe and support this Code of Ethics. By violating any part, a member of IHS is subject to removal from membership in IHS. This Code is interpreted by the Ethics Committee and enforced by the Grievance Committee of IHS. Upon violation of this Code, the Grievance Committee may discipline members after investigation and hearing.  

This Code of Ethics was adopted in 10/83 - Revised 10/96, 10/98, 05/03, 04/07, 03/09, 05/23