The Danger of Getting Your Hearing Evaluated
As President of the Maryland Academy of Audiology this year, I receive many emails requesting assistance and information. Several weeks ago I received an interesting email from a gentleman who wanted the name of a Doctor of Audiology who did not sell hearing aids. He thought that if he saw someone that only tested hearing, he would receive a “professional and unbiased” evaluation without the risk of being pressured to “buy something”. These comments spurred me to comment on the sense that a patient is resistant to get tested because of a fear of the appointment and the pressure from the Audiologist.
Doctors of Audiology are licensed to dispense amplification as part of their training and licensure. This is true in Maryland and across the United States. Most private audiologists dispense hearing aids. However, the audiologic evaluation is not performed with the intent of selling; it is an evaluation to determine the type and degree of hearing loss that exists, if any does exist. The extent of a communication disorder must be determined. The interpretation and recommendations are also not determined whether the Audiologist sells hearing aids or not. Once the results are discussed with the patient, recommendations are discussed as OPTIONS for treating any hearing loss. These treatments may include but are not limited to: referral to another medical professional, and/or recommendations for hearing aids, assistive listening devices, further testing, watch and wait. No one should feel they have NO choice in their treatment. The patient may DO NOTHING-OR CAN DO SOMETHING. Or a combination of both. Ultimately, the decision lies with the patient. But knowing the OPTIONS will help.