Chronicle of a deaf audiologist

Seven Questions to Ask When Shopping For a Hearing Care Professional

  1. Who do your friends recommend:  If you have neighbours, friends, or colleagues with hearing aids, ask them where they got their hearing aids. Are they satisfied with their hearing care professional? Word-of-mouth referrals are gold for any clinic.
  2. Office Location:  Is the location convenient for you? You will be forming a relationship with this clinic. When you buy hearing aids, you are not just buying an item—you are paying for service. Service is ongoing. Can you easily get to this clinic, and is there ample parking available?
  3. Website:  If the clinic has a website, find it. The website will give information about the qualifications and experience levels of the staff members, and whether they are active in their professional and local communities. Community involvement implies (to me anyway) a greater level of passion about the profession.
  4. Cost of Hearing Aids:  Don’t expect a specific answer here—until the hearing care professional can determine the degree of your hearing loss, the style that most appeals to you, and the features you need. If cost is your primary concern, say so. But also find out how performance is affected if you get the least expensive products. What is included with the cost? How long is the service and repair warranty? How much does a repair cost when the warranty expires? Is there loss coverage? If so, how long does it last, and what is the deductible?
  5. Follow-Up Care: How frequent are the follow up appointments? If the hearing care professional stresses that she wants to see you often during your trial period, and on a regular basis after the trial period has elapsed, she understands the importance of service. This is a good sign! Is there a fee for follow up care after the trial period has elapsed?
  6. Your gut feeling:  Are you comfortable with this clinic? Are the staff members friendly and professional? Did you like the way your inquiries were handled? Do you get the feeling that they will spend as much time with you as required? How do they treat people on the telephone? Were you seen on time for your appointment (and if not, was an explanation provided)? In other words, do they seem to want your business, and will they work to ensure that you are satisfied?
  7. It’s your turn:  Have I missed anything that you consider important? Post a comment and let me know.
  • Photo credit:  © Alan Fortune

    Sandra Vandenhoff

    Dr. Sandra Vandenhoff is an audiologist with hearing loss, founder of HEARa, Hearing Rehabilitation teacher, and Canadian author, who does not remember saying on her first day of wearing hearing aids: "Mom, I can hear my shoelaces!"

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