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Consumer Checklist for Purchasing a Hearing Aid: Part 2/3

Nov 11, 2016

The Hearing Loss Association of America has a checklist for consumers purchasing hearing aids. There are three sections: Testing, Dispensing, and Full Disclosure. The first of these three blogs was posted last month and addressed the “Testing” category. This post discusses how Designer Audiology addresses the “Dispensing” section

Do you know why a particular type of hearing aid was recommended? After a communication needs assessment is completed, each patient leaves with a half sheet of recommendations, everything from hearing aids to vision evaluations to support group recommendations. Additionally, when available, manufacturer brochures are provided for specific products.
Were hearing aid features explained to you? As noted above, features that would benefit communication, either on a device or separately are recommended and explained to each patient during the process.
Do the aids fit comfortably? Most hearing aids are custom ordered for each patient and each ear! Personal Sound Amplifier Products (PSAPs) are more often ‘one size fits most.’ Whether the device is custom ordered or instant-fit, our Audiologists exam the ear with and without the device and can modify the piece to ensure a proper fit.
Were you able to insert the hearing aids in your ears by yourself? After each device is fit, an in-depth counseling session occurs. During this time, the patient (and caretaker, if applicable) will practice inserting the hearing aids into the ear and also removing them. The same is true for the batteries, practicing using the controls, and more!
Was the following information concerning batteries explained to you? Batteries are an important component to all devices, but they are also harmful to pets and children. The type and size of batteries is explained during the above-referenced counseling session and a package is provided during the initial fitting appointment. Important safety instructions, like keeping batteries away from medicine to ensure they are not accidentally swallowed, is also reviewed and written down.
Were all the controls explained to you? Controls, like listening programs and volume controls are personalized for each patient, depending on their communication needs. The counseling session during a new hearing aid fitting is extremely important as all of these details are decided and reviewed.
Was the following information regarding the care of the hearing aids and earmolds explained to you? Care, maintenance, and use. It’s so important that Designer Audiology has a front/back checklist to ensure everything is mentioned. Sometimes the problem is remembering all of that information, so follow-up appointments during the evaluation and adjustment period (typically 30 days) is important. The user manual also contains a significant amount of this information.
Did you receive written material on the information you received? Not everything can be written down, but a ‘cheat sheet’ is provided with the frequency of care, the important reminders (e.g. don’t get your hearing aids wet), and user manuals are all required for all patients.
Were the following covered at the time of your first follow-up visit? The follow-up appointments are important times to review how the hearing is with the new devices, but also to review any information that may have been forgotten. The one week appointment also allows the audiologist to check the fit of the hearing devices and the electronics.
Were you asked to evaluate any improvement on the effect of hearing loss on your life, at home, at
work, at school, when going out, etc.?
All the questionnaires that are given before a communication needs assessment help provide a baseline for hearing. After 30 days, and sometimes again at 6 months, the questionnaires are repeated to measure the hearing devices. One of the questionnaires even provides a quality of life improvement with the pre- and post-results!
Did you receive information about using telephones and assistive listening and alerting devices with your hearing aids? Even with the internet, many people rely on the phone, and more importantly their cell phone. Most hearing devices can seamlessly provide hearing with a phone and cellphone. However, some people want accessories to help enhance the hearing (e.g. hands-free hearing). Additionally, Designer Audiology works with Sprint CapTel and Clear Captions to provide a captioned phone to patients who meet the hearing loss requirements.
Were group hearing aid orientation sessions provided? At this time, Designer Audiology provides one-on-one counseling with patients. However, group sessions have been discussed and will be included in the future for people who choose to attend.
Did you receive information about helpful resources such as speechreading classes and support groups such as the Hearing Loss Association of American (HLAA)? Support groups are part of the communication needs assessment and are a recommendation for many members who want someone to talk to and can relate to them and their situation. Thankfully, HLAA has a chapter in Greater Baltimore and Frederick; their headquarters are in Bethesda!


How does your current audiologist do in the Dispensing category?  Want to experience the difference at Designer Audiology?  Call 301-854-1410 today to schedule a comprehensive hearing evaluation and/or communication needs assessment today.