A Patient Wish List For the First Audiologist Appointment

An audiologist is the first stop for most people on their hearing loss journey. The tone and content of that initial appointment are critical elements in setting us down the path for success in managing our hearing loss. In my recent post for Phonak Audiology Blog, I share my wish list for that first audiologist appointment. Please share your ideas in the comments. An excerpt is below. To read the full article click here. 

First Audiologist Appointment Can Be Scary

That first audiologist appointment can be an emotional experience for people at the start of their hearing loss journey. Finally admitting that you have a hearing loss and that you need to do something about it can be depressing, shrouded in stigma and downright scary. Combine this with needing to speak on the phone to make the appointment — a dreaded task for many people with hearing loss — and it is no wonder the average person with hearing loss waits 7-10 years to treat it!

Our trepidation continues as we arrive for the first appointment, but there is also hope. We wonder: Will the audiologist focus on the communication challenges that are most important to me? Will I leave with tools and skills that enhance my ability to live my life fully? Will I find a partner in my hearing care? Employ the tips in this article, and your patients will be answering yes to each of these questions.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

 

How to Improve the First Audiologist Appointment 

1. Acknowledge the patient’s hearing loss storyAsk us why we are there and listen to the answer. It will provide important details about our lifestyle and the types of communication situations that are most important to us. Your positive response will set the right tone for the appointment and create an honest working dialogue from the start.

2. Use communication best practices. Your patients are there because they cannot hear well. Treat them with respect by speaking clearly and at a moderate pace. Face them and keep your mouth uncovered. Train your office staff to follow suit, in person and over the phone. Consider investing in a hearing loop system or other assistive listening technologies for your office to aid in communication if needed.

3. Practice person-centered care. Work to find solutions to your patients’ specific communication challenges, rather than simply amplification. Some may require assistance for hearing at work, others only socially. Involving the patient in the development of the treatment plan creates buy-in and increases motivation to comply.

For more tips, please continue reading on Phonak Audiology Blog

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11 thoughts on “A Patient Wish List For the First Audiologist Appointment

  1. I have a phonak hearing aid, recommended when I had test for cochlear implant, Dr. said, try this first. I lost the Cros in wind storm, knocked me over and didn’t realize it was gone until I was in car…. it happened at grocery store, sudden wind of 60 mi hr. Cart and I were blown … I was just shaken not hurt. When I realized I didn’t have the CROS. We got out of car and looked, as my husband said, it’s probably in next county.. Gone. I called my hearing aid person and he said, it could not be replaced and I need to get whole new set.. complete as it was 3+ yrs old.. one piece wouldn’t work, The cost was a huge factor and I’ve done without.. and currently my hearing aid or I are not working together. I hear sound but language/words, sometimes escapes me.. I don’t know if I am willing to pay 8000 for a unit. He said that without discount, 4300. Was what I paid, plus 150 to replace ear mold etc. as aid went out.. I am not sure aids are the way to go anymore. I will be 89 in a month, in pretty good share for the shape I’m in… but hearing is truly compromised. I live in assisted living and dining room or any area with large group. 4 or more.. I simply can not understand words. Sound yes.. do you have any suggestions? Mg.

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    • I am sorry this happened to you. Hearing is so important for staying engaged with your community. I wonder if your audiologist would be willing to work with you on a payment plan of some type. I would hate for you to miss out on the connection with other people. Wishing you lots of luck.

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  2. I appreciate your blog very much. It has been very informative and supportive in my hearing loss journey. Here is my current dilemma. When I first needed hearing aids I wanted to do it right. I went to an audiologist that I knew through other business associations. I had recently inherited some money from my fathers estate and I could afford good devices from a Dr. of Audiology. At that point in my journey, new to all of this, his expertise and advice had value. Now I’m a six year veteran of mild hearing loss and devices. I will need new ones probably within the next year. I don’t see the value in going back to my audiologist and paying more than twice what I would for a comparable device from a large chain store. I have visited them and was initially comfortable with their products and service reputation in our area. Any advice or thoughts on the subject would be very appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Dennis Rowlison

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    • Dennis…I would NOT purchase hearing aids from a chain store.

      Chain stores very often do NOT employ fully licensed/accredited audiologists who have AuD credentials.

      They have “technicians” …”salespeople”, who are full-fledged audiologists…This means that the evaluation and/or prescribed equipment and then, subsequent programming of the devices, are not optimum.

      To get the biggest bang for your buck, it WILL cost more…but, well…you get what you pay for.

      Years ago, I bought a hearing aid from a chain store…it was a total piece of junk…I never wore it; therefore, it was a waste of money…so heartbreaking. I had been so hopeful

      But, being a trained, full-fledged Speech Pathologist (with training in Audiology), I should’ve known better…

      Boy, did I learn my lesson.

      Caveat emptor…Follow up care is also important..when you are treated by a fully-credentialed Audiologist, that person follows you, for the life of the equipment.

      OTC equipment is coming out very soon (2020). There are some great devices. Depending on the severity of your hearing loss (if not too severe), you might benefit from OTC equipment. I have moderate-severe hearing loss, bilaterally, I have been using Bose Hearphones since December 2018. I have never been happier, in terms of clarity, bluetooth connection and noise cancellation features.

      Bose stores will allow you to trial their equipment for 30 days…you might try their devices …hearphones (not headphones) and see if it works for you…But, please, have your evaluation done by a fully-accredited Audioloigst, in order to determine the severity of your hearing loss.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The store I was referring to was Costco. I visited their and checked their credentials. Several of my friends have used them and were happy with the results.

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is such a personal decision. The expertise of an audiologist is very helpful in managing your hearing loss, assuming you have found one that you like. On the other hand, Costco has a good reputation for quality devices at a reasonable price. Have you spoken with the audiologist at your local Costco to see what type of care you could expect? If it is another big box store, I am not as familiar with the quality. It could be a lot riskier. Best of luck to you.

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  3. Thank you for the informative blog. I would encourage audiologists to tell patients to consider joining HLAA or ALDA. HLAA has given me a wealth of information including valuable resources. I’ve seen my audiologist for almost ten years or so and I just recently joined HLAA a few months ago.I don’t see why audiologists would disagree with the policies behind these organizations if there are any. For me this led to blogs and discussion groups, etc.

    Are copies of Audiogram for consumers required by Audiologists to give out or is it available by request only?

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    • I agree. HLAA/other peer groups have been a huge help to me as well. I think the rules about copies of audiograms vary by state. I have always requested and received my audiogram after every hearing test without an additional fee, as I think it should be. Thank you for your comment.

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  4. I wish my audiologist’s office offered online scheduling. It’s frustrating that an organization that serves people who can’t easily use a telephone requires a telephone call to schedule an appointment. I don’t really understand why that’s still a thing *anywhere* in 2019, but it’s particularly frustrating when they know perfectly well how tough that is for their patients/clients.

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