Hearing loss is a common disability affecting 1/7 Australian’s over the age of 65. The first point of contact for persons who notice hearing difficulties, is the local GP. Normally the GP will look for obvious signs of hearing loss, such as ear infections and/or wax build up then refer for an audiological assessment. Should a specific degree of hearing loss and poor speech clarity be identified, amplification options are explored. Whilst amplification, such as the use of hearing aids and personal listening devices, do not restore hearing to normal, in conjunction with rehabilitation this can be life changing to both the hearing impaired and their close communication partners.
It is however important to look for an independent hearing clinic, such as Victorian Hearing, to ensure ethical service is provided.
In October 2015, The ACCC launched an investigation into the professional standards of hearing aid clinics, as there has been growing complaints by consumers they are being sold hearing aids that cost up to $14,000 they may not need. In some circumstances people are even being treated by unqualified staff because currently there is no regulation governing Audiology. Furthermore, the ACCC identified companies in fixed relationships with one hearing aid manufacturer and companies providing commissions to their staff on the sale of hearing technology.
So which clinic should you choose and how do you know you have made the right choice?
We recommend patients look for an independent hearing clinic in Melbourne, such as Victorian Hearing.
Whilst price is important, and for some people the most important factor, hearing loss is a journey. Hearing loss is for life and you are therefore not just buying “a product” you are entering a long-term relationship with your audiologist.
Look for someone you can trust, connect with easily in the consultation, can be honest with. More practically, look for a location that is easy to access, opening hours to suit your lifestyle and ease of access- such as if you are using a wheelchair and or other mobility aids.
When making an appointment ask if you will be seeing a university Qualified audiologist. An audiologist has a minimum of 5 years of higher education study and has completed a Master’s degree and has a certificate of clinical practice.
At your consultation you should expect:
* A full diagnostic hearing assessment is tested, the results explained and reported to your self and/or GP at your request
*Should medical investigations be warranted, the audiologist will make recommendations such as to consult with your GP and arrange for referrals to other health professionals such as an Ear Nose Throat specialist, Neurologists, Speech pathologists etc.
* Should hearing aids be suitable for your type of hearing loss, the benefits and limitations of different shapes of hearing aids should be explored.
* Your hearing goals should be explored and the most suitable hearing aid(s) of your choice is selected. You should have a choice of colour
* A quote should be provided on the style of choice which should include a trial period of no less than 30 days
*Appointments are made to fit you your new hearing aids and follow up appointments to ensure the device is working well and meeting your hearing goals.
* If the devices are not meeting your needs, your audiologists should be optomising the devices and/or exploring other alternatives.
Why choose an independent hearing clinic like Victorian Hearing?
Victorian Hearing is a proudly independent hearing clinic here in Victoria. Privately owned not subjected to commercial imperatives of clinics owned by hearing aid manufacturers; the sole focus of our audiologists are on patient outcomes. Our independence ensures we can offer all brands and styles of hearing aids to our clients, so they receive the best hearing solution for their needs.
On top of that Victorian Hearing only employ qualified, university trained Audiologists. We do not offer free hearing tests, as we value the clinical skills required to perform full diagnostic hearing tests ie. Pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry and tympanometry.
All of our staff are on salaries and DO NOT receive any commissions or incentives of any kind. This means the hearing aid solution presented to our clients is for their best interests, not our staff’s pay packet. Victorian Hearing is client-focused; we strive for outstanding client outcomes. It makes no financial difference to our staff if they fit a fully subsidized hearing aid to a pensioner or top-of-the-range hearing aid, as no incentive exists to pressure clients to consider more expensive hearing aid options. Choice of hearing aid style and technology level should only be determined by a range of factors – hearing loss, listening needs and goals, dexterity, cosmetics, motivation, lifestyle and budget, that is all and not potential for commission. Victorian Hearing uses a collaborative approach between patient and audiologist to consider all these factors to determine the best hearing solution for each person’s needs.
At Victorian Hearing, we pride ourselves on providing a professional, ethical, caring service in a friendly, supportive environment. Our reward is improving the quality of life of those with difficulties hearing.