Old Fort senior testifies in Columbus

COLUMBUS – An Old Fort High School senior testified before the House Health and Aging Committee Wednesday on House Bill 109.

Tyler Bowes testified that “this bill would prohibit the sale of hearing aids online or through the mail unless it has been discussed and cleared with an audiologist, physician or hearing aid dealer.”

“I believe everyone should have a direct person to be placed in contact with an audiologist before they purchase hearing aids,” Bowes said.

Bowes is 70 percent deaf and has been wearing hearing aids since he was 3.

He said he has purchased hearing aids from his audiologist, Bob Gamble, for years.

“He has been there to help me (find) which aids will work best for me and if there is a problem, he will help me fix it,” Bowes said.

According to a release, the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, specifies that individuals who purchase hearing aid devices over the Internet shall first have a consultation with a medical professional specializing in audiology.

Bowes first heard about HB 109 from Damschroder while working with him at the Fremont Airport, located off of SR 53. He said he was one of seven or eight people who testified in front of the committee.

Bowes, who has his pilot’s license, said it is important to have properly working hearing aids when contacting the air control tower and listening to radio traffic.

“I believe you need that personal contact (with a specialist) for several reasons. To make sure you do have hearing loss and that you are buying the right hearing aid you need,” Bowes said. “Also, you might not get a money-back guarantee.”

Bowes said that allows a two-month trial on new hearing aids and the client only has to put a little money down. If the aids do not work or he is not comfortable with them, he is able to give them back and try new ones.

Bowes said HB 109 still is in committee and is expected to go to a vote sometime next week.

He is preparing to graduate in two weeks and plans to major in sports management at Bowling Green State University, but he said he would love to become a commercial pilot someday.