Tips for choosing a hearing healthcare clinician
Hearing healthcare clinicians work in a range of settings including public or private hospitals and community health centres or in private clinics. To find a service, you could ask your GP or read the online reviews for the selected clinic or clinician to see if they receive good client feedback. Word of mouth is another way to confidently find someone you trust. You can also use this link to find an audiologist near you: https://audiology.asn.au/ccms.r?pageid=10217&TenID=AUDA
A good relationship with your hearing healthcare clinician is imperative to achieving good outcomes. In fact, research suggests that the relationship you have with your clinician makes more difference than the type of hearing aid you get. You should feel confident, understood, supported and empowered by the care you receive. Therefore, when choosing a clinic/clinician you might want to ask some questions to help determine if they are the right fit for you:
- Does the clinic/clinician offer the service you are looking for? Some clinics, such as public hospitals, may only provide diagnostic assessments (such as hearing tests), but do not provide rehabilitation (such as communication strategies or device fitting).
- Is the clinician qualified? Audiologists and audiometrists have different training levels and scopes of practice. For more information about the difference between audiologists and audiometrists, see our resource ‘Where can I go to check my hearing?’ Available here: soundfair.org.au/hearing-information-sheets/
- Are they up to date with their knowledge and will abide by a code of conduct? One way to ensure this is to ask if they are a member of a professional body. For example are they an Audiology Australia accredited audiologist?
- Is the clinician receiving a commission from the sale of hearing devices, or any incentives or bonuses? How does that change what they recommend to you?
- Are they able to offer devices across a range of manufacturers?
- Is the clinic accessible for you?
- Is the clinic local and is it easy to get an appointment? You may need ongoing appointments.
- Does the clinic offer a range of solutions and services, other than just hearing aids? If they don’t, will they work with you to co-ordinate your care?
- Does the clinic have a range of funding options available to you? Refer to our resource called ‘What funding support am I eligible for?’ for more information (available from: soundfair.org.au/hearing-information-sheets/)
- Will you have the same clinician each time you visit?
- Is it ok if you take a friend or family member along for your appointment? Are they willing to work with them, so they can support you too?
- Will the clinic provide an interpreter if you need one?
If you are comfortable with the answers to the above questions, congratulations, you have an excellent foundation to building a great therapeutic relationship. If not, you are not obligated to stay with this clinic/clinician. If you don’t understand anything discussed with your audiologist/audiometrist, you are allowed to ask questions or to ask them to explain it in another way. Consider asking to speak with another audiologist at the same clinic, or seek out another clinic in your local area.
Once you have chosen your service/clinician you may find “What to expect at your first audiology appointment” useful (available from: soundfair.org.au/hearing-information-sheets/) and what topics might be useful to discuss at your first appointment.