1. Are you an Audioprosthologist?
Audioprosthologists hold advanced training from an accredited university and have special training in the identification, assessment and non-medical treatment of hearing disorders. They must complete a first year’s masters program. They must pass a demanding national examination. They are also usually licensed as Hearing Instrument Specialist and licensed by the state they practice in.
2. How long have you been fitting hearing instruments?
Fitting hearing aids correctly is both an art and a science. An audioprosthologist who has fitted thousands of patients is more likely to recognize and solve problems, thereby ensuring a proper fitting with full benefit from your hearing instruments. Less experienced hearing professionals may fail to activate up to 50% of a hearing instrument’s capabilities. They’ll provide little or no follow-up care because they don’t know how to solve hearing instrument performance problems.
3. How will you determine what’s best for my hearing situation?
Your hearing professional should take a thorough history of your hearing problem and your general health. He or she should also discuss your life needs and perform a comprehensive hearing assessment. In addition to routine tone and speech tests, he or she must perform measurements for comfortable and uncomfortable loudness levels with the goal of reestablishing normal loudness perception. Too often, hearing professionals omit these vital tests. These procedures are time consuming and many aren’t trained well enough to understand their importance.
4. How computer savvy are you?
Digital (computerized) hearing instruments are the standard of the industry. The least expensive digital units out-perform the best analog hearing aids and cost no more. Some hearing professionals may try to steer you away from digital hearing aids because they don’t know how to program the instruments. If those hearing professionals do choose to fit digital aids, you will get only limited benefit.
5. How many digital manufacturers do you work with?
It’s a good sign if the audioprosthologist works with many manufacturers. This is because every person’s hearing loss is unique and each hearing instrument model provides distinct advantages. Thus, the audioprosthologist who uses several manufacturers has more options. It also means he/she is not simply relying on special deals from one company to improve the bottom line of his business.
6. Do all digital hearing instruments work the same?
Your hearing health care professional should be able to elaborate on what today’s digital hearing instruments can and cannot do. Ask them to describe the advantages of what the leading hearing instrument manufacturer’s offer– including Widex, Phonak, GN ReSound, Oticon Starkey, and Siemens.
7. What fees and costs should I expect?
There should never be any surprises. All of the costs should be explained to you up front and in writing. Your prospective audioprosthologist should strive to work within your budget to give you maximum value for your dollar.
8. What if I’m not satisfied?
Your audioprosthologist should explain that Florida law requires a 30-day trial period for any hearing instruments you are evaluating. He or she should also inform you that you’re entitled to a refund if you are dissatisfied for any reason before the trial period ends. Be suspicious if you are not informed of these legal rights.