When it comes to choosing a new hearing instrument, the task can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? What questions do you ask? Who can you trust? What do hearing aids cost, anyway? All of these are great questions and all are best answered during a hearing aid consultation with your Doctor of Audiology. During the consultation, your Audiologist will do several things: first, a review of the anatomy and physiology of the ear is completed so that you can better understand where your hearing loss stems from and whether or not it is fixable medically or is permanent. Then, the consultation will continue with a review of your hearing loss in more specific terms. Next, your Audiologist will discuss your lifestyle and your needs and wants. Two people with similar hearing loss may require two very different hearing aids simply because of the difference in their lifestyle. If one person has a quiet, sedate lifestyle while the other is a very active person with multiple listening environments, the required technology to handle these differing situations will vary widely. It’s your Audiologist’s desire to understand what you want your hearing instruments to do (or NOT do) in order to determine the best possible amplification choice for your needs.
In most cases, a demonstration of the current hearing aid technology will be suggested during your consultation. Think of this like a “test drive” of a new car. How do you know what to expect if you’ve never heard what the new hearing aids can do? A demonstration can quickly show you what can be expected and can demonstrate what the “bells and whistles” might be able to do for you in your every-day listening environments. This is also a great time to see how well you can hear your spouse. Make sure you bring them along to this appointment. Their input is very valuable and even more important is making sure you can hear them well with the new hearing aids. You’ll also be able to see what the instruments might feel like if you were to choose a behind-the-ear model. A demonstration is a great way to get a first look into the world of better hearing.
Your Audiologist will then discuss what is included in your purchase. All hearing aids come with a manufacturer warranty. In most cases, the minimum warranty is a 2-year coverage for repairs through the manufacturer and a 2-year coverage for loss. There is often a deductible for a replacement of a hearing aid through the loss and damage coverage. Your Audiologist will review the specifics with you at the time of your consultation. All other services will be reviewed as well, such as in-house service and repair, the battery program and any auditory training that might be included in your purchase as well.
By the time you’ve finished with your consultation, which lasts about an hour, you should have the majority of your questions answered and have a plan of action for resolving your hearing needs. Your Audiologist will work hard to make sure you understand your hearing loss, the types of technology available to you and your choice of styles of instrument. What is included with your purchase will also be reviewed. By the end of your consultation, you should feel comfortable with your decision to move forward, having received the information necessary to make an educated decision on what’s best for you. If you are feeling unsure of what questions you should ask your Audiologist during your hearing aid consultation, please read our Guide to Better Hearing, which outlines some of the more important questions to ask. Or, feel free to contact our office directly to speak with your Doctor of Audiology today. We’d be happy to help.