Why choose an audiologist?
Individuals who evaluate hearing and dispense hearing aids are of two different backgrounds:
An Audiologist is an individual who has completed a Bachelor’s degree and then goes on to a graduate program: They have attained, at minimum, a Master’s (if not a Doctoral) degree in hearing sciences from an accredited program, passed a national examination, and completed a 9 month fellowship in Audiology, before being allowed to obtain state licensure.
A Hearing Aid Dispenser (or Hearing Instrument Specialist) has a minimum of an Associate’s degree (as implemented in 2001), has taken 12 hours in hearing science-related coursework, and passed a state licensing examination.
There are vast differences in training and education requirements, but the most important aspect for the consumer is trust. The healthcare consumer needs to trust that the professional performing their hearing testing has their best interests in mind, and does not perceive the patient as purely a source of income.
Why an independent practice and not a “Hearing aid place?”
Like any business, hearing aids can often amount to “quantity over quality.” If a practice is beholden to only one (or even only two) manufacturer’s contracts, that provider is then forced to fit each individual’s needs into those pigeonholes. Big box stores are prime examples of this business model.
A little-known fact is that hearing aids do not all sound alike! Therefore, one person may prefer the sound quality of one brand over another. For this reason, the hearing healthcare consumer is best served by seeking out an independent practice, who has the freedom to order whatever hearing instrument s/he deems best for their particular needs.
what hearing aids are best for me?
According to the previous FAQ, the answer is: nobody knows! That decision is made based upon an individual’s hearing ability, their lifestyle, their listening needs, and their budget! Even after all of those variables are taken into account, personal, subjective sound quality perception then comes into play. This is a decision best made on an individual basis, between the hearing healthcare consumer and their provider.
What hearing aids do you dispense?
As indicated above, the decision on what hearing aids are best depends on the individual. For this reason, we dispense hearing aids from the following manufacturers: