Choosing the Right Hearing Care Professional
Choosing the right hearing care professional can revolutionise your treatment. Whether you already wear hearing aids, you’re experiencing hearing loss, or you simply want to get your hearing health checked, an appropriate professional can provide the assistance you need.
Of course, finding the right hearing specialists isn’t as simple as opening the phone book or searching Google. When it comes to finding a hearing care provider, such as an audiologist, it’s important to do your research.
Before you can select the right hearing specialist for your needs, you’ll need to determine exactly what type of hearing care professional you need to see. Audiologists, otolaryngologists and hearing aid specialists all deal with hearing issues, so which type of professional should you consult?
What is a hearing care professional?
Audiologists, otolaryngologists and hearing aid specialists are all hearing care professionals, but they perform very different roles. Otolaryngologists are doctors of the ear, nose and throat, so they typically deal with hearing issues which arise alongside other symptoms, such as dizziness and/or vision problems.
In contrast, audiologists specialise in hearing issues. As clinical doctors, they have undertaken years of advanced training and are required to have completed a doctoral degree before they are licensed to practice. As well as carrying out various hearing tests, audiologists can determine exactly what types of hearing loss you’re suffering from.
By distinguishing between mild to moderate hearing loss, severe hearing loss and conductive hearing loss, for example, an audiologist can enable you to access the most effective treatment for your condition.
Finally, a hearing aid specialist carries out hearing testing and provides advice regarding the types of hearing aids which may be most effective for you. In addition, they typically offer hearing aid fitting and adjustments.
With various different hearing care professionals to choose from, it’s important to identify which one is right for you. Whilst an otolaryngologist may be the most appropriate choice if you’re experiencing a number of symptoms, an audiologist is the most common professional to consult when you’re suffering from hearing loss.
Once an audiologist has diagnosed the cause of your hearing loss, a hearing aid specialist may be able to test your hearing for changes in the future. Similarly, follow up appointments with a hearing aid specialist will ensure you can access assistance quickly and efficiently.
If you’re experiencing hearing issues, the most important thing to do is seek medical help. If you’re unsure who to consult, your primary care physician may be able to provide advice and/or referral. To find the right hearing care professional for you, try our Signia Store Locator now.
What makes a good hearing care professional?
Aside from qualifications and experience, good hearing care professionals are empathetic and compassionate. Like all medical professionals, they are committed to helping their patients find the most effective treatment.
No matter what type of hearing specialist you choose to see, it’s important to find someone you can relate to. When you’re able to work with your hearing care specialist, you’ll find your appointments to be more rewarding and effective.
If you want to know how to choose a hearing care professional, take a look at our top 4 tips now…
1. Look for recommendations
If any friends or family members have consulted a hearing care professional (HCP), it’s worth asking what their opinion is. Often, a personal recommendation can help you to find a HCP you trust. Whether you’re arranging an online hearing test, choosing new hearing devices or preparing for a cochlear implant, a personal recommendation can give you confidence in your healthcare provider.
Alternatively, you can ask your primary care physician for a referral to a hearing specialist, as well as looking at online reviews and recommendations. Verified reviews and independent websites provide a great way of accessing unbiased opinions, so this can be a good place to start.
2. Range of treatment options
Treating hearing issues may include resolving an ear infection, undertaking a hearing test, carrying out surgery or fitting new hearing aids. Whatever type of treatment is right for you, it’s important to work with a HCP who can provide a wide range of treatment options.
If you’re prescribed hearing aids, for example, you may want to choose a HCP who can offer behind-the-ear devices, in-ear canal and invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids. This ensures you can try a variety of different options and choose the one which suits you best.
3. Insurance approved
If you have medical insurance, you may find that some or all of your hearing treatments are covered by your insurance provider. If so, you’ll want to work with a hearing specialist who is approved to carry out work by that particular insurance company.
Whilst this shouldn’t be the only factor you take into account when choosing an audiologist or hearing aid specialist, it’s certainly an important issue. People with hearing loss can be faced with on-going medical costs, so reclaiming these expenses from your insurer can reduce the financial impact that hearing loss can have.
4. Flexible treatment
A good hearing care professional understands that every patient has individual needs. Even if patients have a similar diagnosis, their treatments may need to be varied. When choosing an audiologist or HCP, a flexible approach to treatment is important.
When you first start wearing hearing aids, for example, it can take some time to get used to them. By working with a HCP who offers a trial period, you’ll be able to sample various different types of hearing devices before selecting the most effective option for you.
This approach to treatment can help you get the most out of your hearing aids and will ensure that you feel comfortable seeking further advice, as and when you need to.
Booking an appointment with a HCP
Although in-depth research can help you to create a shortlist of reputable hearing care professionals, you’ll only know which one is right for you when you meet with them. If you’re not 100% satisfied with the treatment you’re receiving or the approach your HCP is taking, you can always seek a second opinion from another HCP.
By taking a pro-active approach to your hearing health, you can ensure that you have access to effective treatment, reputable hearing care specialists and comprehensive care.