People come to the realisation that hearing aids can assist them in a variety of ways. Sometimes you just know it’s time. Other times it takes the gentle (or not so gentle!) prodding from family and loved ones.
However, when people come to the realisation and acceptance that they need hearing aids, everyone faces a common problem. navigating the minefield that is the hearing health industry in Australia.
Most people don’t realise that the hearing aid industry in Australia is not regulated, so theoretically your plumber could assess your hearing and prescribe you a hearing aid. Luckily it’s not as bad as that and if you keep the following six steps in mind, you’ll be able to navigate the industry quite easily for yourself or your family members.
A properly qualified audiologist will be able to diagnose your hearing loss accurately. Everyone’s hearing loss is different and the recommendations that work for one person may not be the right recommendations for another. By being not only independent but also free from any manufacturer arrangements, your audiologist can recommend the right options for you from the full range of devices available on the market.
A hearing screen will only determine if you have a hearing loss but not the extent of the loss and are usually done free by many clinics to get you in the door. If there’s an indication of hearing loss they, like any other clinic, will get you to pay for a full, comprehensive hearing test that will determine the actual nature of your hearing loss. If you want to screen your own hearing at home there are plenty of online or downloadable apps available that will give you an indication of you have a hearing loss. Just remember that a screen is no substitute for a comprehensive assessment that will determine the extent of the hearing loss and also the physical reason for that hearing loss. Different physical reasons require different treatment options.
Do you really need the premium models with features you will never use, or are there standard or mid-range devices at a lower cost that will give you the same hearing improvement without the bells and whistles? Just like cars there are ‘luxury’ models and the family sedans. Many of the bells and whistles do nothing to improve your hearing loss and end up being unused. Note that independent research has not demonstrated that use of premium-level technology results in better everyday speech understanding or listening effort outcomes than use of basic-level technology.
Many clinics will hide the price of the hearing aid and their clinical time in what’s called a ‘bundle’. You will be charged a large amount which will include a big cost for future clinical time, which you most likely will not need. This means there can be thousands of dollars difference from one provider to another. Even with clinical time paid as you go for the assessment, fitting and follow up appointments, the end costs can still mean savings of thousands of dollars. Some clinics, like Clarity Hearing Solutions, have all their prices for all devices and clinical time available online so you can compare and get a completely transparent view of the costs involved with getting hearing aids.
And don’t forget, under the Australian Government’s hearing program (OHS Program), most pensioners, part-pensioners, veterans and their dependents are eligible for a free hearing assessment, hearing rehabilitation and hearing aids. If you are not in one of those categories you may be in luck if you reside in an area where the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) has rolled out. People eligible for the NDIS (and that’s people aged 26-64 with a disability like hearing loss) can get funding for any required hearing aids and listening devices through this Scheme. Seek out a registered NDIS provider like Clarity or read more about it here.
Your audiologist should always give you a quote outlining exactly what’s included in the recommendations they are making. Take time to fully understand your quote and to research prices and alternatives elsewhere. And make sure they have a trial period or offer a no questions asked money-back guarantee on your devices. Sometimes, no matter how good the devices or your diagnosis, the hearing aids you are fitted with simply don’t fit your lifestyle and you need to reconsider your options.
Irrespective of what you pay for your hearing aids you have made a big investment in time and effort to get your hearing loss treated. Make the most of it and ensure you wear your hearing aids. The more you wear them the better the outcome as your brain gets used to sounds it may not have heard in a long time. You’ll appreciate it as will your loved ones and the people around you.
Our hearing treatment is based on our five ethical practice principles: accurate, expert diagnosis; evidence-based treatment; transparent, competitive pricing; no commissions or sales targets; independence. This means you get the right solution for you, your lifestyle, and your budget. You can always compare prices on all hearing aids on our products page.
Clarity is proudly an independent Queensland-based, family-owned clicnic. We provide advanced hearing aids and audiological expertise in hearings aids, accessories, balance/vestibular and CAP testing, cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids. We have clinics throughout metro, regional and remote Queensland and provide remote telehealth services where required. Whatever your audiology requirement, we can provide it for you.
So when you are ready for better hearing, contact Clarity for expert, ethical advice and recommendations.
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