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What’s the Process? – STEP 4

What’s the Process?

At Half Price Hearing Aids we take Patient Assessment very seriously. Therefore our process is first to assess the patient’s environment…. the conditions under which the patient must hear. This can be radically different from person to person, and it would not be in the patient’s best interest for us to assume that it’s the same for everyone. Secondly, we seek to comprehensively assess the patient’s hearing impairment. First we perform an otoscopic examination to see if testing can be accurately performed. (No conductive obstructions) Then we perform the full battery of audiological tests. We do not, as many, neglect a complete testing regiment, but test by air conduction and bone conduction with making as necessary, and then perform the full battery of speech testing as well. This way fittings are insured to be as accurately programmed as possible. When patients are experiencing hearing that is not optimal after initial fitting, we have state of the art diagnostic equipment (Real Ear Measurements & Speech Mapping) to determine the precise cause, and narrow the gain requirements to best resolve their problem.

hearing-evaluationAfter testing, we make recommendations as to what a patient might expect as to the various technological options available in today’s hearing instruments, and leave it to them to decide what option is most financially viable or desirable for them at the time. We do not, and will not, strong arm anyone, despite the fact that people are highly susceptible to this, and those who do sell this way do very well for themselves, but we are steadfastly purposed to serve the interests of our patients, and do all we can to remain true to that primary fitting principle. After the patient indicates the level of technology they would are most interested in, we program a pair of hearing instruments for them to listen to in the office, and let them experience for themselves the benefits of hearing instruments, and what it’s like to hear again!

Up to this point, everything in the process is completely free. If the patient purchases the aids, they have free follow up appointments for the life of the original owner. We encourage our patients to come in regularly for free cleanings, any programming needs, free retesting and reprogramming, or whatever else is needed for their ongoing care. And as I frequently say… if its FREE, you might as well do it! Frequently patients experience a decline in their hearing as time goes on from the date of original fitting. They almost universally assume that this is due to decline in performance of the aids, and that can certainly be the case. We have equipment in the office that can test the output of aids to ensure their optimal performance, and submit them for any warranty repair in necessary, and will only charge our patients our cost on out of warranty repairs. However, quite frequently it’s not the performance of the hearing aid at all, but that their hearing itself has changed, and accordingly we offer free retesting and reprogramming of the life of the original owner in order to insure that the programming is kept current to what’s going on with someone’s hearing. This is recommended to be retested every year, and it’s completely free, and if patients will do this, they will get the best value out of their hearing aids.

After a model has been chosen, we then spend as much time as necessary programming the new aids to customer satisfaction. Then there is a first follow up appointment and a second follow up appointment. The idea with the follow up appointments is, that the patient takes the hearing aids, thus programmed, out into their listening world, to see how close we got with the fitting. They typically will return for their first follow up appointment saying how much they love the devices, and how well they are working in most situations, but that they have a problem with a given circumstance where they are still not hearing optimally, and so we go to work addressing whatever problems remain. By the second follow up appointment they are typically fully satisfied, though sometimes it happens on the first try, and sometimes it takes longer than the second follow up appointment.

It’s critically necessary that a patient understands that purchasing hearing devices is not like purchasing a car, where you test drive it and if it’s not what you want, you keep looking. Hearing aids are like the “Transformers” movie….. to return to the car analogy, a few clicks of the mouse and it’s a 4×4 pick up truck rather than a luxury sedan, or visa versa. Quality digital hearing aids can be programmed into anything that the hearer needs, and if you start with quality hearing devices, and have a commitment from both the specialist and the patient you can satisfactorily overcome even stubbornly difficult fittings.

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