Broken hearing aid: assess both parties’ responsibility | Protecteur du Citoyen
April 29, 2019

Broken hearing aid: assess both parties’ responsibility


Femme âgée touchant son appareil auditif

The complaint

The hearing aid of a woman living at an intermediate resource (IR) broke because it was mishandled. The IR felt that it was not responsible for the accident and refused to compensate her. A family member complained to the Québec Ombudsman. 

The investigation

  • A woman who lived at an intermediate resource (IR) wore two hearing aids.
  • One day, a care attendant noticed that one of the hearing aids was not working anymore. The battery had not been put in properly and had damaged the device.
  • The IR figured that the woman had broken the device while handling it. It therefore refused to compensate her.
  • The Québec Ombudsman’s investigation showed that the woman had arthritis and had trouble handling small objects. As a result, a care attendant turned off and put away the aids every night. In the morning, another attendant took them out of their case and activated them.
  • Given this information, the Québec Ombudsman felt that the woman should not have been blamed. She was unable to open the tiny case containing the hearing aids. Nor did she have the dexterity to change the batteries.
  • Furthermore, the IR was aware of the woman’s limitations. The care attendants should have kept a closer eye on the devices in case she tried to handle them.

The result

At the Québec Ombudsman’s request, the institution responsible for the IR reimbursed the woman for the device.

The Québec Ombudsman ensures that your rights are upheld in your dealings with Québec public services. Are you dissatisfied with the services of a Government of Québec department or agency? Or with those of a health and social services network institution (2nd level of recourse)? File a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman by calling 1-800-463-5070 or use our online complaint form.