How To Choose An Audiologist
As more of the American population ages, hearing loss is becoming more commonplace. In fact, more than 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Many of these individuals may not know it or may have just discovered their hearing loss is negatively affecting their lives. If this sounds like you, don’t worry; finding an audiologist can be easy.
What is an audiologist?
Before choosing an audiologist, it’s good to understand what an audiologist does. An audiologist is a trained medical professional who can diagnose and treat hearing loss, tinnitus and other balance disorders. They have undergone extensive schooling, usually earning a doctorate’s degree and often engage in continuing education in an effort to stay current with industry best practices. Audiologists are different from other hearing healthcare professionals; hearing aid specialists are typically only able to prescribe hearing aids. Audiologists, on the other hand, have an arsenal of solutions, from hearing aids and cochlear implants to a whole series of assistive listening devices.
There are many audiologists practicing in the United States. They can be found in many different settings, including: private practices, hospitals, doctor’s groups, colleges or universities, armed forces, school districts and more.
How do I choose an audiologist?
The best way to start looking for an audiologist is to know that the phone call and subsequent visit(s) can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life. That said, with so many audiologists available, it’s hard to know where to start the search. Consider these tips when making your first audiologist appointment.
- Ask trusted medical professionals: Don’t just flip through the phone book or rely on an internet search. While an internet research can be helpful, it is wiser to first seek out the advice of healthcare professionals you already have a trusting relationship with, such as your primary care physician.
- Ask friends or family acquaintances: Other people you have trusting relationships with, such as friends and family members, are also great options for asking recommendations. If anyone you know wears hearing aids or sees a hearing healthcare professional, ask for their advice. Because they are close to you, they will likely provide you with the most transparent and honest reviews.
- Ask your insurance provider: Even though hearing aids aren’t typically covered by insurance provides, sometimes visits to the audiologist are. Consider seeking advice from your insurance provider or give them a call to see what audiologists may be in network and covered at a higher percentage.
Other factors to consider
It is also important to consider the distance of a practice from your home. Should you need immediate help or advice, it’s always wise to have a professional closer to where you live. Additionally, consider if the audiologist has a solo practice or works with others. Partnerships can provide patients with additional help and options for care.