Subdivision 1. Application for certificate.
An applicant must:
(1) be 21 years of age or older;
(2) apply to the commissioner for a certificate to dispense hearing instruments on application
forms provided by the commissioner;
(3) at a minimum, provide the applicant's name, Social Security number, business address
and phone number, employer, and information about the applicant's education, training, and
experience in testing human hearing and fitting hearing instruments;
(4) include with the application a statement that the statements in the application are true
and correct to the best of the applicant's knowledge and belief;
(5) include with the application a written and signed authorization that authorizes the
commissioner to make inquiries to appropriate regulatory agencies in this or any other state where
the applicant has sold hearing instruments;
(6) submit certification to the commissioner that the applicant's audiometric equipment has
been calibrated to meet current ANSI standards within 12 months of the date of the application;
(7) submit evidence of continuing education credits, if required; and
(8) submit all fees as required under section
Subd. 2. Issuance of certificate.
The commissioner shall issue a certificate to each dispenser
of hearing instruments who applies under subdivision 1 if the commissioner determines that the
applicant is in compliance with this chapter, has passed an examination administered by the
commissioner, has met the continuing education requirements, if required, and has paid the fee set
by the commissioner. The commissioner may reject or deny an application for a certificate if there
is evidence of a violation or failure to comply with this chapter.
Subd. 2a.[Repealed, 2005 c 147 art 7 s 20
Subd. 2b. Action on applications for certification.
The commissioner shall act on
applications for certification, and applications for renewal of certification, according to paragraphs
(a) to (c).
(a) The commissioner shall determine if the applicant meets the requirements for
certification. The commissioner may investigate information provided by an applicant to
determine whether the information is accurate and complete.
(b) The commissioner shall notify each applicant of action taken on the application and of
the grounds for denying certification if certification is denied.
(c) The commissioner shall comply with contested case procedures in chapter 14 when
suspending, revoking, or refusing to issue or renew a certificate under this section.
Subd. 2c. Reapplication following denial, rejection, revocation, or suspension of
After two years, upon application and evidence that the disqualifying behavior
has ceased, the commissioner may restore or approve certification previously denied, rejected,
revoked, or suspended, provided that the applicant has met all conditions and terms of any orders
to which the applicant is a subject.
Subd. 2d. Certification renewal notice.
Certification must be renewed annually. The
commissioner shall mail a renewal notice to the dispenser's last known address by September 1 of
each year. The notice must include a renewal application and notice of fees required for renewal.
A dispenser is not relieved from meeting the renewal deadline on the basis that the dispenser did
not receive the renewal notice. In renewing a certificate, a dispenser shall follow the procedures
for applying for a certificate specified in subdivision 1.
Subd. 2e. Renewal requirements.
A certificate must be renewed effective November 1 of
each year. To renew a certificate, an applicant must:
(1) annually complete a renewal application on a form provided by the commissioner and
submit the annual renewal fee by the deadline;
(2) submit certification to the commissioner that the applicant's audiometric equipment has
been calibrated to meet current ANSI standards within 12 months of the date of the application, if
the applicant tests hearing;
(3) submit evidence of completion of continuing education requirements, if required; and
(4) submit additional information if requested by the commissioner to clarify information
presented in the renewal application. The information must be submitted within 30 days of the
Subd. 2f. Late renewals.
The deadline for application to renew certification is October 1 of
each year. An application for certification renewal must be received by the Department of Health
or postmarked by October 1. An application not received or postmarked by October 1 shall be
a late renewal and must be accompanied by a late fee as required in section
. If the
postmark is illegible, the application shall be considered timely if received by October 7.
Subd. 2g. Lapse in certification.
Certification shall lapse if not renewed before November 1
of each year. An applicant whose certification has lapsed less than two years must meet all the
requirements of this chapter except the certification by examination requirements of subdivision
2h. The application fees to renew certification following a lapse of less than two years must
include the late fee. An applicant whose certification has lapsed for two years or more must meet
all the requirements of this chapter except the continuing education requirement of subdivision 2i.
Certification application fees of applicants whose certification has lapsed for any amount of time
shall not be prorated over the time remaining in the annual certification period.
Subd. 2h. Certification by examination.
An applicant must achieve a passing score, as
determined by the commissioner, on an examination according to paragraphs (a) to (c).
(a) The examination must include, but is not limited to:
(1) A written examination approved by the commissioner covering the following areas
as they pertain to hearing instrument selling:
(i) basic physics of sound;
(ii) the anatomy and physiology of the ear;
(iii) the function of hearing instruments; and
(iv) the principles of hearing instrument selection.
(2) Practical tests of proficiency in the following techniques as they pertain to hearing
(i) pure tone audiometry, including air conduction testing and bone conduction testing;
(ii) live voice or recorded voice speech audiometry including speech recognition
(discrimination) testing, most comfortable loudness level, and uncomfortable loudness
measurements of tolerance thresholds;
(iii) masking when indicated;
(iv) recording and evaluation of audiograms and speech audiometry to determine proper
selection and fitting of a hearing instrument;
(v) taking ear mold impressions;
(vi) using an otoscope for the visual observation of the entire ear canal; and
(vii) state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
(b) The examination shall be administered by the commissioner at least twice a year.
(c) An applicant must achieve a passing score on all portions of the examination within
a two-year period. An applicant who does not achieve a passing score on all portions of the
examination within a two-year period must retake the entire examination and achieve a passing
score on each portion of the examination. An applicant who does not apply for certification within
one year of successful completion of the examination must retake the examination and achieve
a passing score on each portion of the examination. An applicant may not take any part of the
examination more than three times in a two-year period.
Subd. 2i. Continuing education requirement.
On forms provided by the commissioner,
each certified dispenser must submit with the application for renewal of certification evidence of
completion of ten course hours of continuing education earned within the 12-month period of
July 1 to June 30 immediately preceding renewal. Continuing education courses must be directly
related to hearing instrument dispensing and approved by the International Hearing Society.
Evidence of completion of the ten course hours of continuing education must be submitted with
renewal applications by October 1 of each year. This requirement does not apply to dispensers
certified for less than one year. The first report of evidence of completion of the continuing
education credits shall be due October 1, 1997.
Subd. 2j. Required use of certification number.
The certification holder must use the
certification number on all contracts, bills of sale, and receipts used in the sale of hearing
Subd. 3. Nontransferability of certificate.
A certificate may not be transferred.
Subd. 4. Dispensing of hearing instruments without certificate.
Except as provided in
subdivisions 4a and 4c, and in sections
, it is unlawful for any person
not holding a valid certificate to dispense a hearing instrument as defined in section
. A person who dispenses a hearing instrument without the certificate required by
this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Subd. 4a. Trainees.
(a) A person who is not certified under this section may dispense hearing
instruments as a trainee for a period not to exceed 12 months if the person:
(1) submits an application on forms provided by the commissioner;
(2) is under the supervision of a certified dispenser meeting the requirements of this
(3) meets all requirements for certification except passage of the examination required
by this section.
(b) A certified hearing instrument dispenser may not supervise more than two trainees at the
same time and may not directly supervise more than one trainee at a time. The certified dispenser
is responsible for all actions or omissions of a trainee in connection with the dispensing of hearing
instruments. A certified dispenser may not supervise a trainee if there are any commissioner,
court, or other orders, currently in effect or issued within the last five years, that were issued
with respect to an action or omission of a certified dispenser or a trainee under the certified
Until taking and passing the practical examination testing the techniques described in
subdivision 2h, paragraph (a), clause (2), trainees must be directly supervised in all areas
described in subdivision 4b, and the activities tested by the practical examination. Thereafter,
trainees may dispense hearing instruments under indirect supervision until expiration of the trainee
period. Under indirect supervision, the trainee must complete two monitored activities a week.
Monitored activities may be executed by correspondence, telephone, or other telephonic devices,
and include, but are not limited to, evaluation of audiograms, written reports, and contracts. The
time spent in supervision must be recorded and the record retained by the supervisor.
Subd. 4b. Hearing testing protocol.
(a) A dispenser when conducting a hearing test for the
purpose of hearing instrument dispensing must:
(1) comply with the United States Food and Drug Administration warning regarding
potential medical conditions required by Code of Federal Regulations, title 21, section 801.420;
(2) complete a case history of the client's hearing;
(3) inspect the client's ears with an otoscope; and
(4) conduct the following tests on both ears of the client and document the results, and if for
any reason one of the following tests cannot be performed pursuant to the United States Food
and Drug Administration guidelines, an audiologist shall evaluate the hearing and the need for a
(i) air conduction at 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, and 8,000 Hertz. When a difference of 20
dB or more occurs between adjacent octave frequencies the interoctave frequency must be tested;
(ii) bone conduction at 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hertz for any frequency where the air
conduction threshold is greater than 15 dB HL;
(iii) monaural word recognition (discrimination), with a minimum of 25 words presented
for each ear; and
(iv) loudness discomfort level, monaural, for setting a hearing instrument's maximum power
(5) include masking in all tests whenever necessary to ensure accurate results.
Subd. 4c. Reciprocity.
(a) A person who has dispensed hearing instruments in another
jurisdiction may dispense hearing instruments as a trainee under indirect supervision if the person:
(1) satisfies the provisions of subdivision 4a, paragraph (a);
(2) submits a signed and dated affidavit stating that the applicant is not the subject of a
disciplinary action or past disciplinary action in this or another jurisdiction and is not disqualified
on the basis of section
153A.15, subdivision 1
(3) provides a copy of a current credential as a hearing instrument dispenser held in the
District of Columbia or a state or territory of the United States.
(b) A person becoming a trainee under this subdivision who fails to take and pass the
practical examination described in subdivision 2h, paragraph (a), clause (2), when next offered
must cease dispensing hearing instruments unless under direct supervision.
Subd. 4d. Expiration of trainee period.
The trainee period automatically expires two
months following notice of passing all examination requirements of subdivision 2h.
Subd. 5. Rulemaking authority.
The commissioner shall adopt rules under chapter 14
to implement this chapter. The rules may include procedures and standards relating to the
certification requirement, the scope of authorized practice, fees, supervision required, continuing
education, career progression, disciplinary matters, and examination procedures.
Subd. 6. Hearing instruments to comply with federal and state requirements.
commissioner shall ensure that hearing instruments are dispensed in compliance with state
requirements and the requirements of the United States Food and Drug Administration. Failure to
comply with state or federal regulations may be grounds for enforcement actions under section
153A.15, subdivision 2
Subd. 7.[Repealed, 1998 c 317 s 29
Subd. 8.[Repealed, 2005 c 147 art 7 s 20
Subd. 9. Consumer rights.
A hearing instrument dispenser shall comply with the
requirements of sections
148.5195, subdivision 3
, clause (20);
Subd. 10.[Repealed, 2005 c 147 art 7 s 20
Subd. 11. Requirement to maintain current information.
A dispenser must notify the
commissioner in writing within 30 days of the occurrence of any of the following:
(1) a change of address, home or business telephone number, or business name;
(2) the occurrence of conduct prohibited by section
(3) a settlement, conciliation court judgment, or award based on negligence, intentional acts,
or contractual violations committed in the dispensing of hearing instruments by the dispenser; and
(4) the cessation of hearing instrument dispensing activities as an individual or a business.
History: 1988 c 689 art 2 s 56; 1992 c 464 art 2 s 1; 1993 c 201 s 3; 1995 c 164 s 25; 1998 c
317 s 18-24; 2000 c 460 s 54-60; 2003 c 87 s 47,48; 2005 c 147 art 7 s 12-16; 2006 c 267 art 2 s 16