Clearing the Air on Speech and Hearing Disorders

Maintaining harmony in life is a balancing act—keeping that balance may be more challenging for those who can’t hear well or have speech problems. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has designated May as Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) in order to raise awareness about communication disorders, remove the mystery surrounding them, and let everyone know where to seek help.

Even just going through a normal day can affect your hearing:


Speech disorders occur when a person can’t produce sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with their voice. Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language).

Fortunately, there are professionals who can help.

Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems? The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Hearing Health Foundation reports that:

  • 40 million Americans have communication disorders
  • 6–8 million Americans have some form of language impairment

Audiologists provide care in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. Statistics show that:

  • Approximately 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss
  • One in five Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear
  • Approximately 26 million Americans, ages 20–69, have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Speech-Language, Pathology & Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board regulates licensees in both of these professions. To check on the license of a hearing aid dispenser, speech-language pathologist or audiologist, please visit the Board’s website at


Know Your Hearing Aid Warranty Rights

SLPAHADB_logoThe Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board (Board) wants to remind California consumers of new hearing aid warranty provisions that went into effect January 1.

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act provides a 45-day warranty on all new and used hearing aids, although dispensers of hearing aids can provide a longer period than 45 days.

The dispenser is required to provide the buyer a copy of the signed purchase agreement that includes the language of the new warranty provision. Additionally, upon delivery of the hearing aid, the dispenser is required to provide the buyer with a delivery receipt that must include the delivery date and expiration date of the 45-day warranty period.

For any adjustments, replacements, or services that require the hearing aid to be out of the buyer’s possession, the warranty period will be interrupted and will resume on either the date that the repaired or serviced hearing aid is returned to the buyer, or five days after the buyer is notified that the hearing aid is available to be picked up.

Consumers should also be aware that if adjustments to a hearing aid are necessary during the 45-day warranty period for a specific fit of a buyer, but the hearing aid still doesn’t fit satisfactorily, the hearing aid can be returned (under most circumstances) for a complete refund.

To verify that a hearing aid dispenser is licensed or to file a complaint with the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board, visit the Board’s website.

DCA Investigator Honored

Division of Investigation (DOI) Investigator Frank Root received honors from DCA Director Denise D. Brown and the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board for his work in the investigation and arrest of San Luis Obispo hearing aid dispenser Aaron Marquis and his wife, Anja, last October.

DOI had received a complaint from the Board alleging that Marquis was falsely advertising that he held a PhD in Audiology. The complaint also alleged that Marquis was also practicing as an Audiologist and was illegally billing for his services.

Over a period of three years, Root served subpoenas, search warrants, and temporary restraining orders, and worked with informants, victims and allied agencies. The investigation uncovered fraud that exceeded $500,000, involving numerous insurance providers and more than 140 patients—many of them senior citizens


Root’s investigation led to the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office filing charges on  22 felony counts and two enhancements on both Marquis and his wife. The two were convicted of felony violations of grand theft and a pattern of related felony conduct and insurance fraud, which included private insurance companies, Medi-Cal and Medicare insurances. In addition, Marquis was sentenced to 365 days in jail and five years’ probation, and his wife was sentenced to 13 days in jail and five years’ probation.