If you need hearing aids and have been shopping around, you know that the choices available can be overwhelming. But where do you turn to be certain you make the best choice? Here are the top three things we suggest you consider if you are in the market for hearing aids.
Ninety percent of your success with hearing aids is related to the professional you work with. Remember, you want to find someone you can establish a relationship with and who can help you long term. There are two types of hearing professionals who can evaluate you for hearing loss, sell and fit hearing aids.
Hearing Instrument Specialist
A hearing instrument specialist, designated by the letters H.I.S., has limited training and can only sell and fit hearing aids. If you need more advanced care or a higher level of expertise, you should be referred to an audiologist or another appropriate medical specialist.
An audiologist is a doctoral-level professional who has completed an undergraduate degree, PLUS has completed a doctorate degree in the field of audiology. In addition to evaluating hearing loss and fitting and selling hearing aids, an audiologist is trained to care for patients with dizziness and balance problems, as well as tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Look for an audiologist who subscribes to “best practices” put forth by professional organizations, such as the Academy of Doctors of Audiology or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Associated Audiologists employs only doctoral-level audiologists, which ensures that our patients receive the highest quality of care, and each member of our team holds a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a member of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.
Ask if the practice offers more than one brand of hearing aid. This is key because different manufacturers may have features more suited to one person than another. Also, by working with worldwide manufacturers, you can have your hearing aids serviced almost anywhere. Beware of providers or franchises that only offer one brand of hearing aid.
Further, be educated about non-name brand technology or company-branded technology that may not be serviced by other providers if the corporate contract is not renewed (for example: Kirkland brands, Audibel, etc.). Some of the major hearing aid manufacturers Associated Audiologists works with include Widex, ReSound, Phonak, Lyric, and Starkey.
Be sure the practice you work with is a full-service practice. Does the practice back up and service the hearing aids it sells after you walk out the door? Other services you should ask about include ear wax removal, loaner hearing aids in the event yours need to be sent to the manufacturer for repair, and same-day repairs for emergent problems.
Plus, check that the practice you choose accepts insurance benefits and can help coordinate your benefits, if you have them. Don’t assume that the practice provides all these services—many do not.
These are just three important issues that are critical to consider when shopping for hearing aids, and can improve the chances that you’ll be more satisfied with your choice.
Read Associated Audiologists’ five-star reviews and see why patients choose to work with us.