Choosing an Audiologist
Your hearing health is not a one-size-fits all solution. From hearing health professionals to hearing devices, there are a variety of things to consider when you’re taking care of your ears!
Just as cars vary hugely in size, power, fuel efficiency, and comfort, so do hearing devices. Which makes it all the more important that the person supplying that hearing aid is best placed to advise you.
This is where an audiologist comes in. These professional “Doctors of hearing” are trained to degree level and above in all matters to do with hearing loss and correction. In order to diagnose and treat your hearing loss properly, the audiologist needs to ask you detailed questions about the extent of your hearing difficulties, and also about your medical health and any medications you take. So when choosing an audiologist you want to feel able to trust that person and build a long term working relationship with them.
So what do you look for when choosing an audiologist?
- Convenience: If you require a hearing device know that you will need to return for further appointments such as a first fitting and follow ups to see how you are getting on. These are invaluable opportunities to fine-tune your device for maximum performance and to make sure it is sitting comfortably. If the audiologist’s office is difficult to get to, or some distance away, you may feel discouraged from visiting and therefore not get the max from their professional services
- Communication: Hearing loss can leave you feeling vulnerable, especially in novel situations. It is a basic requirement that everyone at the audiology clinic is sensitive to these details and is prepared to take time and patience to make sure you understand everything. From making that first inquiry phone call to the visit itself, look for staff that make the effort to ensure your understand: Be that clear handouts, writing down instructions, or encouraging you to take a friend along.
- Qualifications: Ask the receptionist if your appointment is with a fully qualified audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser. The latter are far less knowledgeable and may even be on commission for the number of devices sold. This is not conducive to giving unbiased advice, which is something a qualified audiologist takes pride in doing.
- Personal Preference: Talk to the audiologist to see if you feel comfortable with them. Remember, they will need a medical history and you must be honest in reply, plus, they will want to know details of your hobbies and lifestyle. This helps them to match you to an ideal device, so if you feel on edge or distrustful for any reason then you won’t get the most from your visit.
- Bigger Picture: Ask about the after sales care offered by the clinic. For example do they offer a loaner device if yours is damaged and needs to be sent away for repairs? Plus, do they do minor repairs on site, and what support can they offer in terms of teaching expression reading and the like?
Remember, buying a hearing aid is an investment both financially and in your hearing health. Spend that investment wisely by consulting someone qualified to give you unbiased advice.