Losing your health is never fun, whether you happen to develop some severe issue or just catch a common cold when spring rolls around. And when the system failure occurs in something that is as basic and necessary as hearing, things become frightening and confusing and you have no idea where to turn.
Thankfully, there is a type of medical professional specialising in ears and hearing. An audiologist can help you test your hearing and outfit you with a hearing aid, if you need one. With such a delicate task to tackle, choosing the perfect professional for your needs is a crucial step at the very beginning, so we talked to a specialist in the area to learn what to look out for when finding a hearing doctor.
Talk their ears off before you entrust them with your own ears
Whether you want to have a full on hearing aid fitted and put into use, or you want to be tested to prepare for one, or even if you just want to check-up on your ears to make sure everything works without a hitch, you have to make sure to connect to your doctor.
You need to be sure that you can communicate smoothly. You have to be free to voice any concerns you might have, and be OK with making your discomfort or fear known. Sometimes a grizzled professional might forget why a layman would get nervous. Check out this link for a good starting list of questions to ask your potential new audiologist.
Do your best to stick to strictly local searches
When looking for some help in this regard, you want to make sure to maximise your own convenience. If you experience any hearing loss or damage, chances are high that you will end up making a fair few trips to the audiologist’s office and back again.
You will need to do various kinds of hearing tests, optionally be fitted for a hearing aid device, and then you can count on additional appointments to solve any problems that may pop up along the way. Even more so, as you get older and your hearing capacities change, you will need to go through the same cycle several more times.
So take your time and select a doctor who is as close to your home as possible, and always be aware of their opening hours. You do not want to find yourself needing an urgent response and kissing the front door instead.
Check all of the minute details of their offers
Although the general methods for testing your hearing will be fairly consistent across clinics, you need to keep in mind that different doctors will still offer different specific services. They will each have their own approach to the complexities of audiology, and will likely also stock different models of hearing aids. To learn more about those, check out this useful guide.
An audiologist with a limited offer will slam a lid on your possibilities. Make sure to thoroughly research the complete range of treatments and services available at any office that you are potentially considering.
Double-check and triple-check all their credentials
For last place, we have the most important item on our list. Even if you find an audiologist who is conveniently nearby, even if their offer is nicely varied, and you managed to have a neighbourly conversation and ask some of your questions, none of that will matter if they are not able to prove their identity and ability.
Always look deep into the backstage details of your potential new healthcare provider. See how long they have been in the field and how far back that can be traced. Dig up recent reviews from clients, see how they handled any complaints or tricky cases. Check their standing with the relevant government bodies.
Remember to check their social accolades, official awards and formal acknowledgements. Doctors who are trusted and praised by their community and local authorities are always a safer bet. All of this info should be transparently available online or at their office. If they hide it, run.
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Sheffield.