Welcome back to our series Hear It All Again! with audiologist Lori Cunningham.
Get answers to Question 2: How Do I Find A Good Hearing Professional in this second post in our four part series.
Short List Your Options
You've decided to get a hearing test and may now be asking..."How do I find a professional I can trust for testing and possibly selling me hearing aids?"
If you do need hearing aids, this will be an investment in your health, your relationships, your quality of life.
Dare to be choosy.
Take your time.
Ask lots of questions!
Step 1: Create a short-list
1st Ask friends, or a doctor for a recommendation.
3rd Search online for "Audiologist" and/or "Hearing Aids".
Step 2: Learn more about your short-list
Look up their websites and Facebook pages.
Check their credentials.
Call reception or drop in.
Ask questions and ask for information materials.
Ask yourself, "Do I feel welcome?" If the answer is no, cross them off your list!
Step 3: Interview your audiologist (or their staff)
What should you expect from your audiologist? Ask questions about the exam and what happens if you do buy a hearing aid. Answers to look for include:
A consultation to discuss your lifestyle and your hearing priorities followed by a hearing test in a sound booth.
Multiple follow-up visits for care and adjustments in the first year.
Promise of long-term care and adjustments to extend the life of your hearing aids and ensure your hearing continues to be the best possible!
Availability for emergencies (Staff who can see you on short notice)
Clear return policies
Pay for your hearing exam like you would an eye exam.
Be free of pressure to buy!
Know What the Professional Designations Mean
Two types of hearing professionals are approved to assess your hearing and sell hearing aids. These are Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists/Hearing Instruments Professionals
Look for these professional designations when creating your shortlist
Aud (C) for Audiologists in Canada
AuD for Audiologist in the U.S.
Audiologists have a masters degree or doctorate.
They are qualified to assess and treat a range of hearing disorders including tinnitus, balance disorders and auditory processing disorders with the brain. They perform hearing exams and many also fit and sell (dispense) hearing aids and other assistive hearing devices.
Since 2007, an audiologist in the United States requires a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) for clinical practice, typically a three to four-year program. Prior to 2007, Audiologists in the U.S. required a master’s degree for clinical practice.
HIS or HIP for Hearing Instrument Professional or Hearing Instrument Specialists in Canada & the U.S.
Hearing Instrument Professionals (or Specialists) complete a 2-year training program.
They are qualified to conduct hearing tests, select and fit and sell (dispense) hearing aids, or recommend other assistive listening devices.
In the U.S., HIP and HIS credentials, professional titles and program details may vary by state. Please search for hearing professionals or hearing testing credentials in your state to learn what to look for in the U.S.
Most people now want to know about hearing aids and their costs. Get the answers in my post answering Question 3: What are the different hearing aid styles and cost? What do they look like?
Hear it all again! Starting here.
Lori Cunningham, MA, AUD (C), RAUD