Best Audiologists

How to Choose The Best Audiologist for Your Hearing Needs

Finding the best audiologist who is caring, professional and experienced is the key !

Selecting the right hearing care professional is the most critical decision you will make in your journey to treat your hearing loss and optimise your hearing and communication. If you invest some time to find the best audiologist for you, your hearing loss treatment will result in positive outcomes where your hearing is optimised at its best potential level.

1. You Need to Feel Comfortable

First and foremost, make sure you find an audiologist with whom you are comfortable. Then, ensure s/he is a highly qualified professional who is skilled and experienced, possessing extensive knowledge in all areas of hearing health management. Check that s/he operates independently and offers unbiased advice.

Your audiologist will be a partner in your hearing health for years to come, so it is important to carefully consider the above and give your search its due diligence.

2. Qualifications - Audiometrist Versus Audiologist

Audiometrists may have a Certificate IV in Audiometry; or a Diploma of Audiometry from Technical and Further Education (TAFE); or a Bachelor of Audiometry.

Audiologists’ qualifications, however, are much more stringent and range from a Postgraduate Diploma to a Clinical Doctorate and PhD; with a Clinical Master’s degree falling in the middle of this spectrum.

In Australia, current graduates must complete at least the equivalent of an Australian university Master degree in clinical Audiology to be recognised as a qualified audiologist.

Note: Audiologists who hold Postgraduate Diploma are still recognised as qualified audiologist provided their qualifications are obtained before the minimum requirement was changed to the current master’s level

3. It Pays to Consult a Qualified Audiologist

By virtue of their education, training, and licensing, audiologists are the professionals most qualified to assess and treat hearing disorders. Audiologists are trained over a much broader spectrum, so can assist with a full range of hearing loss related issues.

Not only are audiologists well versed in hearing assessment and fitting of hearing aids, they have extensive knowledge of underlying disease pathology, brain functioning and auditory rehabilitation.

In Australia, audiologists work with clients of all ages, and clients with a full spectrum of complex hearing needs. They can assess hearing, auditory and vestibular function, tinnitus, auditory processing function, and neural function. Audiologists can do this by performing diagnostic hearing assessments, including electrophysiological hearing tests.

Audiologists provide hearing, vestibular/balance and tinnitus rehabilitation. Hearing rehabilitation services may include the prescription and fitting of hearing aids, and counselling/education regarding all aspects of managing hearing loss (training in using hearing tactics, communication strategies, and in the use of assistive listening devices).

Audiologists are knowledgeable and can offer advice regarding fully implantable hearing aids, middle-ear implantable hearing devices, cochlear implants, and bone anchored hearing aids.

Tip: Look for someone who is at least university-qualified; someone who, preferably, has a Masters Degree in Audiology, and is a member of a leading audiological professional body.

Tip: When you consult an audiologist who introduces him/herself as a doctor, check to see whether his/her doctorate/PhD is in audiology rather than in another area to avoid being misled.

4. Brand Independence

Over the last 15 years, most independent and family-owned audiology clinics in Australia have been purchased by foreign hearing aid manufacturers to create distribution channels for their own brand.

As a result, manufacturers now own the vast majority of hearing clinics where, in most cases, their audiologists and audiometrists are strongly urged to prescribe their own hearing aid brands regardless of the individual needs of their clients.

Brand independence means your audiologist has the freedom to choose a hearing aid brand and type that will best suit your hearing requirements.

For this reason, it is important to check if the hearing clinic you choose is independent and not owned or aligned with a particular manufacturer.

Independent audiology practices can offer their clients a full range of brands and recommend the best available options to their clients.

Tip: Check to see if a practice is a member of IAA (Independent Audiologists Australia).

5. Referral Source Independence

Be aware of a referrer’s possible financial interest when you are referred for audiological services or hearing aids.

A significant number of audiology clinics in Melbourne are owned by Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist groups. Therefore, when you are referred to these clinics by an ENT who owns the audiology practice, you need to be aware of the ENT’s vested interest.

Should this become a concern, do some research to find an independent audiologist.

Tip: Consider the value of a referral to an independent audiology practice; a referral that directs you to an audiologist who has both expertise and experience, and no vested business/financial interest.

6. A Medical Model Practice

To ensure ongoing and long-term support from your audiologist, choose a practice which is not structured around an online sales model. Preferably, look for a practice in which you can have your own audiologist with whom you can establish a long-term relationship. Ultimately, aim for a practice that provides you with professional and personalised care.

7. A Locally Owned and Operated Audiology Clinic

Clinic location is one of the factors to consider in selecting the best audiologist for you. Particularly in the initial stages of consulting with your hearing professional, you may need successive visits to optimise you hearing needs. It is therefore advisable to look for an audiologist that is close to your home, office or other significant location.

Additionally, it is important to enquire whether the clinic is a permanent (staffed full-time) one or whether it is a visiting clinic. You may also want to ask about public transport and/or car-parking facilities, and any other access considerations.

Ear and Hearing reception

8. An Audiology Practice with a History

Choose a reputable practice that has demonstrated long-term accountability to its clients and local community. If a local hearing clinic has been practising for over 20 or 30 years and is well known by local GPs, it very likely provides good service and care.

Tip: Check the practice’s history, its website and client testimonials.

9. Look for Premium Audiology Care & Services

Focus on quality when searching for a audiologist. You are fully entitled to expect outstanding, ongoing hearing care whenever you need support.

Make sure your audiology practice consists of a team that is not only professional, but also friendly, caring, and sensitive to both your clinical and emotional needs.

You want your personal audiologist to listen to you carefully so they can understand your hearing needs; needs that are based on your lifestyle. A good audiologist will not only care about your hearing but about your total wellbeing. To book an appointment with one of our best Audiologists in Melbourne click here.

10. Check the Audiology Services Offered

In relation to the services a practice offers, you may want to check the practice’s website or make a telephone enquiry to ascertain whether the practice provides the services you need.

Some audiologists may only see a limited age range of people (infants/children specialisation or specialising in adult practice) or certain groups (Pensioners, Veterans, Workcover clients, etc).

Tip: Look for an audiology practice that offers complete hearing care for all your current and future needs. Look for a practice that offers an ongoing, long-term, fully comprehensive service.

11. Not Too Big. Not Too Small.

Once a person has found an audiologist who is qualified, experienced, skilled, understanding and caring, they appreciate the ongoing, long-term relationship that typically ensues.

However, even the most devoted hearing professional may at times be unavailable (annual leave, illness, unforeseen circumstances). At these times it becomes important to have access to an alternative audiologist, so it is prudent to find an audiologist who is part of a practice that is “not too big, not too small”. What is meant by this?

If your audiologist is a sole practitioner, you may be left with no support if s/he is not available to assist you. On the other hand, when you go to a large nationally operated hearing provider, you may not receive a personalised service or be seen an audiologist who is as qualified, skilled and experienced as your regular provider.

Final Words

Finding a good audiologist can be challenging or even daunting, but this need not be the case.

By having a framework, knowing the questions to ask, and spending some time doing some research (read websites, read testimonials, ask questions via phoning or emailing – this will tell you a lot about a practice) you will go a long way to finding the best audiologist in the best audiological practice who will assist you in treating and managing your hearing loss; connecting you once more to your family and friends and improving the quality of your life.