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Choosing a Hearing Aid Provider The average American struggles seven to ten years with a hearing loss before getting the help he or she needs. People often do not know who to turn to for help. They are hesitant to do anything about their hearing because they do not knowwho to trust. The first step in seeking better hearing is to admit you mayhave a hearing problem. The second step is to have a thoroughhearing test. In the state of California, Licensed Hearing Aid Dispensers testhearing for the purpose of fitting hearing aids. This testing is notconsidered a medical evaluation. Should your case history orinitial hearing test indicate a medical problem, you wouldimmediately be referred to a doctor for medical attention. The hearing test is usually done as a complimentary servicewith no charge to the client. Hearing aids are typically fit througha “retail model” of dispensing. Audiologists, on the other hand, are extensively trained fordiagnostic testing. Many but not all audiologists hold two licenses- one for diagnostic testing and the other for the fitting of hearingAvalon Hearing Aid Center, Inc.(916) 930-6347
aids. The price of this testing ranges from $75-$150, and hearingaids are usually fit through a “medical model” of dispensing. Whether you choose to work with a licensed hearing aiddispenser or a licensed audiologist, (I’ll refer to them both asHearing Health Providers for the remainder of the column), thesuccess of your fitting requires four important ingredients. Theingredients for a successful fitting are: 1) A motivated and informed client 2) The right hearing aid technology 3) A completely competent and caring practitioner 4) A supportive family If one of these ingredients is missing or even weak, itcompromises your fitting. So let’s review each so that you can beinformed! A motivated and informed client-No matter what type ofhearing loss you have, you must want to hear better andtherefore, be willing to go through some changes. Learning tohear through amplification takes an adjustment period. For most,this period lasts four to six weeks but can take up to severalmonths for some people. Your attitude and willingness make a tremendous difference inhow well you’ll adjust to hearing instruments. Also, learn all youcan about hearing loss…your specific hearing loss. Attend localseminars or classes and read up on hearing loss in general. Besure to get at least two opinions before you invest in hearinginstruments.Avalon Hearing Aid Center, Inc.(916) 930-6347
The right hearing aid technology-Selecting the right hearing aidcircuit for your hearing loss is crucial. In the past, too manypeople were fit with hearing aids that were pure amplifiers,making everything louder but not necessarily clearer. Selectingthe proper technology takes into account your unique hearingloss, your lifestyle requirements and even your budget. Competent and caring provider-The person who fits yourhearing instruments must be competent in two areas: peopleskills and technical knowledge. It is important that the providerunderstands your problems and takes the time to learn about youand your needs. Be sure you feel comfortable with this personsince you will be working closely with them. Secondly, the provider must demonstrate a high degree oftechnical expertise during the testing and follow-up care. Whenyou come in with a legitimate complaint about your new fitting,you want to feel confident that the provider will know what to doto help you. A successful fitting actually begins after the deliveryof the hearing instruments. Talking about providers, many people believe that they have tostay within their HMO when being fitted with hearing aids. Closeto eighty percent of people do not have a hearing aid benefit.Your HMO may pay for your hearing test but the actual cost ofthe hearing devices is usually not covered. Therefore, you, as aconsumer, have much more freedom to choose who you want towork with. Again, get a least two opinions.Avalon Hearing Aid Center, Inc.(916) 930-6347
Supportive Family-Hearing loss affects everyone in the family.That’s why it’s important that a family member or spouse bepresent during the hearing test, the decision to invest in hearinginstruments and even some of the follow-up care. The mostmotivated client fit with the best technology by an extremelycompetent and caring hearing aid provider can fail miserably IFthey do not have a supportive and informed family. Next month, in part two of “Choosing a Hearing aid provider”you will receive helpful tips on how to determine if you arechoosing the right person to help you with your hearing. For More Information Call Us (916) 930-6347 at or visit http://hearing-aids-sacramento-ca.comAvalon Hearing Aid Center, Inc.(916) 930-6347