Hearing aid options abound
In NZ we are very privileged to have some great funding schemes available for hearing impaired.
From ACC, Veteran Affairs to the Ministry of Health there are a number of funding avenues to support those needing amplification.
It's especially important when considering to purchase some aids that the person is fully informed just as they would be if they were spending a sum on any electronic type device.
Seeing an audiologist who is a full member of the NZ Audiological Society (NZAS) in this process is critical. Be sure you ask them to explain all funding schemes you could be eligible for as you may qualify for more than one scheme.
At the same time you might like to do your own research online or by calling the various Government agencies involved such as ACC, Veteran Affairs or the Ministry of Health via Accessible.
If the person is in the market for hearing aids, try to complete some market research before seeing your hearing health professional. Ask around family, friends and existing users of the technology about their experiences and go on online to see what type of hearing aids appeal (as there are numerous to choose from)!
When being assessed for hearing aids make sure your clinician performs an assessment of hearing needs so they can best match your hearing levels, lifestyle goals and budget to the technology available.
Don't be afraid to shop about providers to make sure you believe you are getting the best value in terms of both product and services offered. If your audiologist is doing their job well they should be providing quotes not only on several models and price points, but also across several brands of aids to ensure you have plenty of choice.
Finally (and this points back to the story in hand) whilst the technology of hearing instruments is constantly improving, have confidence that most models have a minimum lifespan of 6-plus years.
If you feel you are being "pushed" into upgrading early, check to ensure nothing further can be done with your current set as in most cases something further may often be done.
If you don't get the answer of the service you expect seek another opinion. If it appears newer technology is the way to go, be sure to ask your provider with a free, no obligation trial so you can compare the benefits of the new technology versus your current set and make sure whatever you spend on you hearing is worth it!
Having worked in the hearing healthcare industry for close to 25 years I have found the majority of clinicians I have worked alongside both caring and put their clients' interests first in spite of whatever audiology provider they work for.
As members of the NZ Audiology Society any clinical work we conduct is subject to our governing body's standards of practice as well as code of ethics and may face being audited by any Government regulatory agency at any time.
Let the public of NZ out there have confidence that their hearing needs are being met by some highly qualified and trained professionals who act with integrity and passion.
Written by Simon Melville, and originally published in the Southland Times in response to a Fairfax article on June 22 'elderly being pressured into purchasing hearing aids'