What are some good questions to ask when choosing a hearing healthcare provider?
- Will I be seen by a Doctor of Audiology and receive a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation?
- Will my hearing be tested in a regulation, ANSI-certified sound booth? (The sound booth should be completely sound-proof since background noise could affect test results and the accuracy of diagnosis.)
- Is all testing equipment calibrated to strict specifications annually by certified specialists?
- Does the hearing provider make referrals to an Otolaryngologist (ENT, also known as an Ear, Nose & Throat physician) or other specialist when an extended or complex medical condition is suspected?
- Will the hearing health provider thoroughly review my test findings with me and explain recommended treatment options, communication strategies, self-help tips and possible amplification (hearing aid) choices if needed?
- If hearing aids are indicated in the treatment plan, will the provider assist in selection of the most appropriate hearing devices for my particular hearing loss type, as well as taking into account my most difficult listening situations and lifestyle needs, dexterity, financial constraints, etc.? Will the provider explain to me what benefits I can realistically expect from the particular hearing aids and/or other assistive devices? Will the provider discuss technology features that can best help with my most troublesome hearing challenges? (For example, if hearing phone conversations has been difficult, will the provider discuss and/or demonstrate wireless connectivity features or other helpful options that allow me to hear phone conversations more clearly in stereo–simultaneously, in both ears?)
- During my hearing aid fitting appointment, will I be counseled about ways to best adjust to wearing hearing aids? Will I be given verbal instructions and an instruction booklet detailing the operation and care of the new hearing devices? Does the provider normally schedule follow-up visits to monitor my progress, and to provide additional help and instructions so I can get the most benefit from using my hearing aids? Does the provider offer a trial period to help me decide which hearing aids are right for me? Does purchase of the hearing devices I am considering include a warranty for repairs and replacement if needed?
- If I plan to use health insurance benefits to help pay for my hearing services and/or hardware, will the provider office bill my insurance carrier as a courtesy to me? If my plan coverage includes hearing aid benefits, does the hearing aid provider know that my claim requires a diagnosis code (to document “medical necessity” for hearing aids) that non-Audiologist hearing aid dealers are unqualified to determine, and will be valid only when an Audiologist tests my hearing within 6 months prior to my hearing aid purchase? If I am considering purchasing hearing aids from someone not affiliated with an Audiology practice, will the hearing dealer be helpful and advise me to first receive a diagnostic hearing evaluation from an Audiologist so that I can meet the requirements for my insurance benefit claim? A word to the wise: Be skeptical of any hearing aid dealers offering to file your hearing aid insurance claims if you haven’t been tested by an Audiologist beforehand. If a hearing aid dealer places a diagnosis code on a claim that did not come from a recent diagnostic hearing evaluation performed by an Audiologist, such an action is considered insurance fraud, regardless of whether the insurance administrator notices and/or initially pays on the claim.
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