1. An accurate hearing test performed by a licensed professional such as a State Licensed Audiologist:
- Look for the Au.D. (Clinical doctoral degree), Ph.D. (research doctoral degree) or M.A./M.S. behind the professional’s name
2. A hearing test done in a sound booth.
- A sound booth reduces the amount of ambient noise in the test environment. If you can hear the noise from the outside environment, your test results may be impacted and show exaggerated hearing loss.
- There is no positive reason why testing you in a room is better than a sound booth. The test is not designed to determine how you hear when traffic noise or other conversations in the office are heard where you are being tested.
3. A professional who collects information on your communication needs to determine the best recommendation for you.
4. A professional who can explain the differences in hearing instrument technology.
5. A professional who explains to you what is included in the price of the hearing instruments and for how long services are provided. For example:
- What are the repair charges after the warranty expires?
- Can the warranty be extended?
- What is the maintenance plan for your hearing instruments to extend their life as long as possible?
6. A professional who provides multiple follow-up visits after the initial hearing instrument fitting to program the instruments to where they should be and/or how you prefer.
- Enabling the volume control is not a substitute for these follow-up visits
- Enabling multiple programs is not a substitute for these follow-up visits
- A cell phone application is not a substitute for professional programming
Additional ingredients that will provide more benefits:
- Do not be afraid to ask how long the professional has been practicing!
- Ask the professional if they work with one or more hearing instrument companies and why.
- If you feel pressured to purchase hearing instruments, walk away. This is a personal decision for you and should be made when you are motivated to do so.
- If you are planning to move within a few months, purchase the hearing instruments where you will be moving to. Otherwise, you will end up paying a new professional for visits that would have been covered by the professional who you purchased from.
- If the cost is too low, you get what you pay for.
- If the cost seems extremely high (out of proportion for Kern County), you probably are not getting what you pay for.
- The pricing of hearing instruments vary greatly among professionals, the county you live in, and the state you reside in.
- In Kern County, the prices are lower (generally speaking) than Southern or Northern California.
If you are considering hearing aids, I recommend Dr. Eleanor Wilson in the strongest terms. She is very knowledgeable and patiently explains the alternatives. Over the years, every time I’ve had a problem with my hearing aids, she has quickly solved it. In addition, she and her staff are also very friendly and easy to approach. One other thing, the business of aids for hearing is not strictly regulated in the way that, for example, doctors are. Whether you choose Dr. Wilson or not, be SURE to consult with a registered audiologist.