How to Select a Hearing Health Care Provider

female_audiologist_postcard-r2147302d1ca64d8bbfec49ea325d8ed6_vgbaq_8byvr_324You’ve finally decided to move ahead and try to improve your communication skills. You’re excited about wearing hearing aids but don’t know how to get started. Choosing an appropriate hearing health care provider is as important as your choice of physician. Your audiologist is the hearing professional trained to evaluate and manage your hearing disorders and your concerns….so where to begin????

While a recommendation is very useful, it’s important to understand that one person’s success may not translate into success for you. Each person’s hearing loss is different and requires individual attention, not only to your hearing disorder, but to your lifestyle and your hearing requirements. Your doctor may have the names of qualified audiologists and this may be a good place to start. Asking a friend or relative is also helpful in terms of knowing the style and personality of the practice.

1. Choose a practice that adheres to the industry’s standards of “best practice”

2. Choose a practice where you will be seen by the same individual practitioner so there is continuity of service

3. Choose a practice that is not corporate in design so that decisions can be made by the audiologist managing your needs, and not by corporate protocols

4. Choose an audiologist who will listen to your needs and your concerns

5. Choose an audiologist who has state of the art equipment

6. Choose an audiologist who adheres to infection control recommendations, using disposable items when indicated

7. Choose an audiologist who is willing to make changes and corrections to the recommended hearing aid if it is not satisfactory

8. Choose an audiologist who takes the time to survey your hearing problems before you make hearing aid decisions

9. Choose an audiologist who offers many manufacturers’ brands of hearing aids

10. Choose an audiologist who incorporates multiple follow up appointments in order to assure your success

11. Choose an audiologist with appropriate university degrees

12. Choose an audiologist who has outcome measures to validate the hearing aid fitting

13. Choose an audiologist who is state licensed and abides by the state rules and regulations, and explains the state’s law for the trial period.

14. Choose an audiologist with a helpful staff for making insurance claims and answering questions

15. Choose an audiologist who will forward reports to your primary care physician

16. Choose an audiologist who will refer you to an otologist if your tests indicate the need for medical intervention

17. Choose an audiologist who you LIKE…you will be spending hours with this person which makes it even more important to put your trust and your confidence in a professional who is pleasant and accommodating and makes you feel relaxed and comfortable.

When it comes to your hearing, which is an integral component of your overall health, choose a hearing care professional who is patient and caring and provides counseling and aural rehabilitation to facilitate the adjustment to hearing instruments. Hearing aids are a process, not a product, and the relationship you build with your audiologist should be meaningful and built on a foundation of trust.

Hears to happy hearing and healthy living!

Stefanie Wolf, Au.D.
Doctor of Audiology
Audiology of Nassau County
165 North Village Avenue
Suite #114
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
(516) 764-2094

In Case your Doctor Forgot to Mention…

Often patients express surprise when I share some very basic information about hearing and ear health and hygiene. Either some of these topics are neglected at a physical exam or they are forgotten by the patient. Keeping our ears safe and healthy is an essential aspect of overall health. Hopefully, for most, the information below will serve as a friendly reminder and not new information.
Here are a few basics when it comes to taking care of your ears:

1) DO NOT USE Q-TIPS IN YOUR EARS! The best thing you can do with your Q-tips is to break them in half and toss them in the trash! Ear wax is a good thing. EAR WAX IS NOT DIRT! Ear wax is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, a natural bug repellent and it is there for a reason! Q-tip users who complain about itchy ears have itchy ears BECAUSE of Q-tip use. Scrubbing the natural oils from the ears depletes the canals of essential moisture causing itching and dryness. Stop the Q-tips, stop the itch. Remember nothing smaller than your elbow should ever go in the ear canal!

2) Protect your ears from noise ALL THE TIME! Both young and old should take care to protect the delicate hearing mechanism. Noise exposure damages the fragile hair cells that reside in the cochlea that are responsible for detecting sound. Damage to the hair cells can result in hearing loss. This can happen after one encounter with something extremely loud or over time with repeated exposures. Consider ear protection for home, on the job or for concerts or loud events.

3) Tinnitus or ringing in the ear should always be evaluated. If you or someone you know reports that they experience tinnitus, an audiometric evaluation should be performed by an audiologist. Often tinnitus is caused by damage to the auditory mechanism. An audiologist can also recommend different treatments to help manage tinnitus annoyance and when indicated can refer to the appropriate otologist.

4) Changes in hearing should receive prompt attention. Sudden changes in hearing such as ‘sudden deafness’ is considered a medical emergency and should receive immediate attention.

5) Dizziness or a sense of disequilibrium should be discussed with your physician or audiologist.

6) Hearing loss should be addressed as an important health issue. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to depression and social isolation. Recent studies have also linked untreated hearing loss to dementia.

7) There IS help for the hearing impaired. Speak with your audiologist and learn about your options for better hearing and hearing protection.

 

Stefanie Wolf, Au.D.