I’ve received quite a few emails from people asking what the best hearing aid is, and it’s a great question to ask. But just as important – and maybe even more important – is finding the best audiologist to fit that hearing aid.
When you purchase a new hearing aid you’re not only buying the device itself, but you’re also paying for the audiologist’s time as well. You’re paying for the audiologist to test your hearing and fit your new device as well as for follow-up visits in order to make adjustments to the new sounds that you’re hearing. With some devices (mainly entry level) the audiologist’s time may be more expensive than the actual piece of plastic that you’re putting into your ear.
You can buy the most expensive hearing aid in the world and get little benefit from it if you don’t have an audiologist who is prepared to take the time – and who has the knowledge – to properly adjust it to your own personal needs. All modern digital hearing aids have a vast array of settings and can be programmed to sound completely different for each person. Of course, your audiologist needs to program it to compensate for your loss, but most hearing aids have several programs which can be set for different types of listening environments, such as being in a noisy restaurant, listening to music or on a telephone.
Once you’ve been fit with your new hearing aids, don’t be afraid to go back for additional follow-up visits. You might get lucky and walk out after the first visit and be quite pleased with your purchase. However, getting used to wearing new hearing aids can be tough and if this is your first pair of hearing aids, getting used to them can take several weeks to months – not a few hours or days.
A few guidelines for choosing the right audiologist:
Convenience – Look for an audiologist who is conveniently located. The last thing you want to do when you need help is to drive a long distance just for an appointment.
Trust – You’re investing a lot of time and money into your new purchase so you want to make sure that you trust the audiologist who you’ll be working with.
Experience – This may be one of the most important items to look for. Common sense tells you to find professionals who are experienced in their field and finding an experienced audiologist is just as important. Fine tuning a hearing aid to can be just as much of an art as it is a science. Look for someone who has at least 5-10 years of experience dispensing.
Knowledge of Product – You can choose the best product on the market, but unless your audiologist has a good working knowledge of the product, you’re going to be out of luck. Don’t be afraid to ask the audiologist how many of the devices that you’re looking at have they dispensed.
Product Mix – Look for an audiologist who offers hearing aids from several manufacturers. Yes, most manufacturers offer a broad range of hearing instruments to fit most everyone’s needs. But there isn’t one manufacturer who has the right hearing aids for everyone. You wouldn’t go to a grocery store that only sells one brand of food, right? So why go to an audiologist who only sells one brand of hearing aids?
Before you find the “right” hearing aid, you need to find the “right” audiologist. Remember our tips and you shouldn’t have any problems. But always remember, if you ever have any questions, just send us an email. We’re always here to help!