Too many people spend way too much time trying to find the perfect hearing aids, when they should really be spending their time trying to find the perfect hearing care provider. But what are the best qualities to look for in a hearing care provider?
A great hearing care provider will drastically improve your ability to hear, even more than the best hearing aids on the market. After all, a hearing aid is only as good as the hearing care provider who fits programs and maintains that hearing aid.
Audiologists spend four long years in graduate school learning from a variety of very experienced audiologists in unique settings. What this allows a newly-minted audiologist to do is learn a lot of information in a short period of time and gain additional perspectives on care. It also allows the audiologist to learn of these different characteristics and qualities of these extremely experienced, high-quality audiologists, so they can then emulate them when they get into the field.
During my time spent as a student and as an audiologist working with other audiologists, I’ve identified what I believe are the five best qualities that you should look for in a hearing-care provider.
As an audiologist, you have to be committed to lifelong learning, basically staying a student your entire career. Research constantly changes the information that we have, and not only that, but technology is constantly changing. So, if we don’t stay on top of the research changes and the technology changes, we can’t take that information and apply it to a clinical setting.
A large percentage of an audiologist’s time is actually spent educating a patient to help them be more informed. An informed patient is better able to articulate their wants and needs to their hearing care provider so their hearing care provider can adapt the treatment.
Now I’m not saying that your hearing care provider needs to be an adjunct professor in an audiology program, but if they’re not spending their time educating you, then you will never become an informed patient.
Everyone has worked with someone who does not like their job and it sucks. If your hearing care professional is truly passionate about what they do, then they are more likely to be following best practices, which will maximize your success with hearing treatment, which is way better than going to someone who doesn’t care and just hits the auto-program button on the computer, hoping that you get some kind of benefit out of your hearing aids.
It is one thing to fit a hearing aid, and it is a completely different thing to fit a hearing aid really well. This means performing testing and fitting protocols with extreme precision. The more precise that your hearing care professional is, the better your outcome will be.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this hearing care professional, especially early on, and if you’re not comfortable with them, you’re not going to be able to communicate effectively with them to let them know what you want and what’s going on with your treatment. So, you need to make sure that you find someone that you really mesh well with.
However, if this is the only quality that your hearing care professional has, then you’re probably going to the wrong person. It often happens where someone will come into my clinic and they’ll say, “Yeah, so I got these hearing aids at so-and-so, and I really like the person who’s there, but I’ve gone in about 20 or 30 times, and I still can’t hear well.” I would rather you go to a socially awkward individual who has absolutely no people skills but is really good at what they do than go to someone who is super-nice and friendly but doesn’t have a clue.
These are, in my opinion, the five best qualities that a hearing care professional should have, and I highly recommend that you spend the time to find someone who has them. If you spend as much time looking for a great hearing care provider as you do looking for the best set of hearing aids, and you find someone who does best practices, including real-ear measures and they have these five qualities, then you will get way more out of whatever set of hearing aids you decide to buy.
Use the following link to find a hearing care provider that follows best practices.
A great hearing care provider will drastically improve your ability to hear, even more than the best hearing aid on the market. After all, a hearing aid is only as good as the provider who fits, programs, and maintains your hearing aids. Audiologists spend 4 long years in Graduate school learning directly from very experienced providers in unique settings. This affords a newly minted audiologist the ability to obtain:
1. A massive amount of knowledge in a short period of time
2. Additional perspectives of care
3. And an opportunity to identify the qualities of excellent providers to emulate.
During my time spent as a student and as an Audiologist working directly with patients, I’ve identified 5 specific qualities that I believe you should look for in a hearing care provider.
1. Desire to Learn – Research and technology constantly change. Great hearing care providers are life long students and are able to translate new research into benefits in the clinic.
2. Committed to Teaching-Not only do great providers need to be students, they also need to be teachers. Being able to educate a patient is critical in helping a patient be aware of their own hearing treatment which leads to better success.
It is impossible to be a great hearing care provider without being passionate about your craft. Passion is what will cause a hearing care provider to follow Best Practices of care.
4. Attention to Detail
It is one thing to treat hearing loss, and it is a completely different thing to treat hearing loss well. Attention to detail is what separates the best of the best.
You are going to be spending a lot of time with your hearing care professional. You need to be able to communicate with this individual to ensure your concerns are addressed during treatment. However, if this is the only quality that your hearing care provider has, your treatment will likely suffer.