Though over-the-counter hearing aids are set for availability later in 2020, buying hearing aids without the expert guidance of a doctoral-level audiologist may be risky. In fact, most professional organizations advise consumers to get a comprehensive hearing evaluation from a professional practice before making such a purchase.
And while many people may think they are capable of choosing which hearing aid brand or style will work best on their own, hearing aids are very complex digital devices. Plus, if you don’t get hearing aids that fit well, you may have to return them, which may prove challenging if you don’t buy them from a reputable practice.
Instead, carefully consider the reasons you might want to seek the guidance of a doctoral-level audiologist before buying hearing aids. These degreed, trained and licensed professionals specialize in the diagnosis and non-medical treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders.
- Test hearing and balance
- Recommend, service, and adjust hearing aids
- Recommend and provide assistive listening devices (products to enhance telephone conversations, television viewing, etc.)
- Provide tinnitus assessment and management
- Diagnose and treat dizziness and balance conditions, such as benign proximal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Provide education regarding the effects of noise on hearing and prevention of hearing loss
- Deliver counseling and aural rehabilitation (counseling, education, auditory training/exercises)
- Provide cerumen (wax) removal services and medical referrals when necessary
Beyond this, consider the other advantages of working with an audiologist:
- Personal relationships—Audiologists work one-on-one with their patients to establish long-term relationships. This is critical because after spending some time talking with you and performing your hearing evaluation, your audiologist will know which sounds you have difficulty hearing, and can propose options specifically designed to take care of those issues. That sort of personal attention isn’t available at big box stores or with over-the-counter products.
This relationship is especially key for older patients. Many seniors benefit from spending some extra time with an audiologist who is focused on their needs, teaches critical skills, and who doesn’t rush the appointment.
- Testing, testing, testing—Audiologists are trained to evaluate hearing using highly sophisticated technology. A simple online screening test might give you a rough idea of whether you’re having problems hearing, but it won’t provide you with the detail you need to select the right hearing devices for your hearing loss, and then to custom program them just for you. In addition, there are some situations where medical attention is needed which may be missed during simple online screenings or free hearing tests offered for the public.
- Multiple choice—Hearing aids come in a wide range of brands, styles, levels of technology and costs. Do you ned Widex, ReSound, Phonak, Signia, Starkey or Unitron, just to name a few brands? And what about technology? Do you think you’d benefit from artificial intelligence, rechargeables or Bluetooth connectivity? Or would something more basic work better for you?
And what about the style of hearing aid? Often, patients think they want tiny in-the-canal hearing aids because they seem invisible. But when they try them on, they may feel “plugged up” and may not be comfortable. They actually might find a mini behind-the-ear model is a better fit, more natural, and better meets their hearing needs.
- As a professional, it’s your audiologist’s job to be up to date on the latest hearing aid technology, but to also have a good grasp on what best fits your lifestyle and budget. Their recommendations can help you narrow your choices down. It’s also important to fully understand the pros and cons of the myriad of hearing aid options available.
The Associated Audiologists Difference
Associated Audiologists, Inc., is the region’s leader in audiologic care for hearing, tinnitus, and balance disorders. Our doctoral-level audiologists are experts in the latest hearing aid technology, including artificial intelligence. They can recommend technology that meets your individual hearing needs and budget. Plus, they can help you connect to the various options available while incorporating your budget needs.
Associated Audiologists is independent and locally owned by Timothy C. Steele, Ph.D., President and CEO. The practice is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2020, and has grown to seven convenient locations to serve you, all staffed by doctoral-level audiologists. Our audiologists have allied health staff privileges at AdventHealth (formerly Shawnee Mission Medical Center), Saint Luke’s South Hospital, and Saint Luke’s East Hospital.
The practice offers digital hearing aid products from the world’s most respected manufacturers backed by unparalleled service. We also have experts who specialize in diagnosing and managing tinnitus and sound sensitivity, and dizziness and balance disorders.
The Associated Audiologists team features professionals who use advanced diagnostic and verification technology to diagnose and treat hearing loss. This includes real-ear measurement, an important best practice that only 20 to 30% of all practices nationwide use. Real-ear verifies how well your hearing aids are working while actually in your ear.
Each of our audiologists is a doctoral-level professional. As part of their four-year doctoral training, these audiologists spend a final year completing an externship experience supervised by a licensed audiologist. Our audiologists are members of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and hold certificates of clinical competence in audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Many of our team members are also adjunct professors at the University of Kansas Medical Center and provide training for regional academic institutions.
Associated Audiologists also prides itself on the more than 500 outstanding reviews our patients have posted on Google and our website regarding the care they have received from us. Read patient reviews.