Happy New Ears!

by Dr. Clint Keifer, FLT Columnist

The New Year is here and with it our resolutions to be better!If your communication has been difficult with loved ones or you are limited socially by hearing loss, promise yourself it’s time to see an audiologist. Impaired communication affects almost every aspect of life and most individuals tend to put off seeking appropriate help for far too long. Here are five keys to ensuring you find quality hearing healthcare in 2015 (and beyond).

  1. See the right professional. A licensed Doctor of Audiology is the best trained professional to evaluate and diagnose your hearing issue then provide the most appropriate recommendations and treatment options.
  2. Voice your concerns. Whether you are worried about cost, insurance benefits, cosmetics of hearing devices, a previous bad experience, or if there is an option to improve hearing for your demanding lifestyle, it is always best to discuss each concern with your audiologist so that they can be properly addressed.
  3. Understand what works for one may not work for another. This is why healthcare should always be individualized. This is one of the reasons why hearing aids sometimes get a bad rap. If the hearing aid was inappropriately selected and/or programmed (no matter how much it cost) the outcome will be poor and money will be wasted. Avoid retail sales of hearing aids and see an audiologist who follows best hearing healthcare practices.
  4. Be wary of “discounts” that really cost you more. Some hearing aid dealer offices give tempting coupons and free services to get you in their doors, but understand that all of these things are more than covered in the total costs you pay … and then some. “Free” hearing tests are a warning sign (do not or cannot bill your insurance) as all that uncharged time is added to the cost of the hearing aids.
  5. Trust your gut. You need a qualified hearing professional to provide exceptional services at a fair charge. Starting with a licensed audiologist addresses the qualifications part. Then find someone who listens and cares about your needs, is honest and not afraid to tell you something you may not want to hear, and is transparent about options and costs. If you don’t feel comfortable, there is probably a good reason.

Obtaining quality hearing healthcare can be positively life changing. I’ve given you the guidance; now make the resolution for better hearing this year!

Dr. Clint Keifer is the owner of Great Lakes Audiology in Toledo. You can contact him at 419 327-2273; email at ckeifer@glaudiology.com; or visit http://www.GLAudiology.com.