In a day and age when almost any information a person can want is found on the internet, it can be really confusing to be an educated patient when it comes to your hearing health care. We want to be informed and educated consumers, and this is a good thing. But we often confuse knowledge of technology and pricing with knowledge of hearing health. The truth is that hearing care is about so much more than hearing aids and devices. It’s really not even about the bands, channels, chips, and features of the widget. It’s about helping you maintain your lifestyle, and the widget is only a small part of a complete investment package.
Here are the things that you really need to know to be an educated patient:
Know Your Professionals
No matter who you decide to see for your hearing health care, it’s worth taking the time to get to know your providers’ credentials, experience, and philosophy before your appointment. How long have they been practicing? How long have they been in your area? What do their patients say about them? What professional memberships and endorsements do they have? These are all important indicators of the level of care and dedication that you can expect from your provider.
Know What to Expect
Each provider differs, but there should be a few basic things that you can expect to happen at your initial consultation. Here at Advanced Hearing Care, we call this the Four-Step Process.
- The Interview – We determine the nature of your hearing health concerns and uncover any specific areas that may require further attention. We pay attention to your lifestyle and level of activity as well as look at anything in your hearing history that might have affected any hearing loss you may be experiencing.
- The Examination – We look in your ears to determine if any hearing difficulties could be caused by wax obstruction or some other condition that might exist and may require treatment by your primary care physician. We want to be able to make sure that there’s nothing to prevent us from getting good test results.
- The Diagnostic Process – We conduct a hearing test to assess your speech discrimination capabilities as well as isolate the areas of sound that you may be missing due to hearing impairment. We do this in a sound-treated environment so that we can measure your hearing in the most ideal conditions.
- Treatment Solutions – If we determine through the first three steps of your appointment that you do have a hearing loss, we discuss the options available to treat your loss. There are many options available, such as assistive listening devices, hearing protection devices, and hearing aids. We frame this discussion around your wants and needs, as determined by the entire process so far, including information about your lifestyle.
Know Your Options
You and your provider will determine in your hearing exam if hearing devices are a necessary enhancement to your listening lifestyle. Knowing the different types of technology available to you can help you and your provider create a specific hearing care strategy for your distinct set of needs. Not all hearing losses are the same, and not all hearing devices are appropriate for all hearing losses. Your provider can tell you which options are most appropriate for your unique situation.