What To Look For When Choosing A Professional Hearing Provider
When choosing a provider the most important factor is to evaluate the expert’s credentials. Ensure that the health care professional in your area is a board certified and licensed Audiologist who has completed 8-10 years of school obtaining their Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.).
There are also Hearing Instrument Specialists (HIS) who before January 2013 were simply required to have a high school diploma. As of this year, HIS are certified with only 2 years of post-high school education in any field desired. Having an Audiologist’s specialized education provides a broader scope of practice and medical understanding of: why you have hearing loss, a deeper understanding of hearing solutions, and how a hearing aid can benefit your specific needs rather than just how a hearing aid/instrument works. Unfortunately, the standards for who can fit a hearing aid have become very lax; creating a retail model instead of a patient health model. Don’t compromise on your hearing health care by choosing the wrong professional. Ensure your provider has the best health care credentials and is treating you like a patient and not a consumer!
When choosing a Doctor of Audiology, it’s also important to choose an Audiologist that lives within their practicing city. If hearing aids are required, this will ensure they’re regularly available to provide service for the life of the hearing aid(s).
What is Proper Treatment?
The audiological evaluation should always begin with a thorough examination of the ear canal for possible blockage of sound. The patient will then be administered a Tympanic Membrane test, Tympanometry, examining the movement of the ear drum for possible medical interference. Once these tests have been performed, the hearing evaluation can begin. The testing should be performed in a sound proof booth, with words and pure tones (beeps) being used to diagnose the patient’s specific degree of hearing loss. The last test also involves pure tones only with a second device used for bone conduction. Through this second method of testing, the Audiologist is able to confirm and eliminate any type of medically caused hearing loss. Medically caused hearing losses can be treated without hearing aids. This is why it’s imperative that you choose a Doctor of Audiology with the most in depth educational background to identify the difference.
Depending on the test results, the proper hearing aid will be recommended for your specific hearing loss, life style and budget. When a hearing aid is recommended be sure the “Big 6” hearing aid manufactures are being recommended: to include in no specific order Phonak, Starkey, Resound, Widex, Oticon, & Siemens. Be very weary of hearing providers that are paid to sell one specific brand or if they’re not offering at least one of the above manufactures. If one of the big 6 is not offered, then they are not providing you with options or the markets best technology and warranties. They are simply pushing a brand and not what is best for your hearing health.
Hearing aids are not all the same; however they can look the same. Price depends on the technology inside the hearing device itself. The technology can range from Basic to Premiere with cost ranging from $800 each to $2,300 each. You should never pay more than $5,000 for a pair of hearing aids, if you do, you are paying too much. Make sure you avoid losing money to misleading hearing device sales and marketing gimmicks and be cautious of direct mail pieces offering large discounts on inflated prices.