Burnsvilee, Minn — NowiHear.com, an audiology referral service, recently announced a new marketing campaign in response to Minnetonka-based health insurer UnitedHealth Group offering online hearing testing and its own brand of discounted hearing aids.

The campaign, announced in November 2011, promotes the Better Hearing Institute’s (BHI’s) online hearing screening test and then refers those who need care to NowiHear.com’s network of audiologists.

"Clearly, UnitedHealth recognizes that hearing loss is an important issue within its subscriber population. What the audiology community additionally recognizes is that hearing loss is first-and-foremost a health issue, no more amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment than any other health issue," said Dr Greg Frazer, a Los Angeles-based audiologist and industry advocate, in the press statement.

Frazer added, “A competent and professional diagnosis of the cause of the hearing loss is an essential pre-requisite before any treatment plan is initiated, hearing aids or otherwise. Individuals with hearing loss can have treatable and/or life threatening medical conditions, or even excessive wax in their ear, causes for which a hearing aid is not appropriate. And, if hearing aid treatment is in order, research shows that individualized professional care provides the best chance for optimal hearing enhancement and patient satisfaction."

In support of these audiology community-related efforts to caution and dissuade consumers from purchasing medical devices like hearing aids over the Internet without first consulting an audiologist or physician, NowiHear.com’s campaign encourages its website visitors to take the "Quick Hearing Check" from BHI, which is available both online and through the NowiHear.com hearing app for Android.

Once the hearing check is complete, consumers can utilize NowiHear.com’s Audiologist Locater to find a qualified professional in their area who can offer them a consultation, and can also offer fair pricing on hearing aids.

David Smriga, founder and president of NowiHear.com’s parent company, Audnet Inc, commented in the news release, "While the Internet has been a boon in many ways, there are still certain things that shouldn’t and simply cannot be replaced. Sourcing a hearing aid is simple. What is not simple are the complications that can accompany the decision of improper diagnosis."