Helping your hearing professional help you
Your audiologist and audiometrist will test your hearing and be able to tell you how well you are hearing.
To give you the best advice though, they will also need to ask you questions about your hearing, such as when you first noticed hearing difficulties, and what situations in your life you are struggling the most. It’s helpful if you can have a think about these things before your first appointment.
If you are having problems with your balance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or sensitivity to loud sounds, the more background information you can give your hearing professional, the better.
Questions to ask your hearing professional
Hearing devices are sophisticated tools programmed to help you get the best from your hearing, and as your hearing or needs change, they may need to be reprogrammed or upgraded.
When buying the devices, you must be clear about the cost and what’s included, so don’t be afraid to ask:
- Is your hearing professional a member of the NZ Audiological Society?
Various government subsidies are available to help you buy the devices and accessories, but only if the professional is a member of the NZAS.
- What is included in the cost?
If you see a member of the NZ Audiological Society they will give you a quote showing all the items they are recommending such as hearing devices and accessories, what is covered by funding and what, if anything, you need to pay for yourself.
- What appointment fees are included?
There is a cost for the audiologist or audiometrist’s time to fit the devices and provide you with follow-up care, and this might be covered by the DHB, or by government subsidies. Ask what appointments are included in the cost.
- Is there a trial period and what does it involve?
If you see a member of the NZAS you will have a chance to trial the hearing devices, be sure you know how long this is for and what the conditions are
- Who is responsible for insuring the devices during the trial?
- How much of the cost is refundable if I don’t keep the devices during the trial?
- How up to date are these devices?
Government subsidies are usually available only once every six years so be sure the devices you are buying are an up-to-date model and ask how long you can expect the devices to last
- How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
- What are the ongoing costs I can expect?
Hearing devices need regular servicing to keep them working well, even during the warranty period. Ask whether your funding covers any servicing costs, and what you might need to pay yourself. Batteries are an ongoing cost, ask whether your funding covers batteries, and whether rechargeable batteries are a good option for you.
Getting hearing aids for the first time
- How will the new devices help my hearing?
- How long will it take me to get used to them?
- What accessories will work with them – are they included in the cost?
Upgrading your hearing devices
- What improvement will I get with the new devices?
- How are the new devices different from my current ones?
- Will the devices work with my existing accessories?
Remember, your brain needs time to adjust to the new sound the devices will give you, so your hearing professional may fine-tune them during the trial period until you are used to the sound.
- If you see a member of the NZAS, they’ll explain to you the different levels of hearing device technology and their prices, so that you can choose an option that best suits your hearing needs and your budget. If you need to see more options, ask.
- If the quoted price is still more than you expected, it’s okay to shop around to compare prices, but be sure you know what is included in the quote – fitting fee, trial, accessories, other services – so you are comparing like with like.
- If you’re not feeling comfortable with the advice you’ve been offered, get a second opinion.
- Check with your insurance company that your new devices are covered for loss or damage