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Looking for a hearing clinic? Read this first!

Family having a happy cuddle at the beach

If you are looking for a hearing clinic it is important you consider the services they are providing. Do they suit your needs? Will they be there for you when you need them most?

We have devised 3 simple questions that will separate the best from the rest:

Question 1: How many days a week is there an audiologist on site?

You will be surprised at how many services advertise being open full time but in reality, the audiologist is only in the clinic once a week and sometimes only once a fortnight.

Imagine if the audiologist only came in to the hearing clinic on a monday, and your hearing aid went wrong on a tuesday. It means that you are left with a broken hearing aid for at least 6 days before being seen. Quite often they will be booked up a week or two ahead so it may be a long wait before you get looked at.

People generally go privately because they want exceptional care. This is why our advice is to ensure that the clinic you are attending has an audiologist available on a full-time basis.

Question 2: Is the hearing test room sound-treated?

To obtain an accurate hearing test the noise in the room needs to be below 35dBA. That won’t make much sense to most people, but it’s very quiet.

If you are in a hearing clinic and they haven’t properly sound treated the room you will likely hear conversations from outside, road traffic noise, and other distractions that may affect the accuracy of the test.

An alternative to sound treating the room is to use a less expensive sound-isolation booth. It’s like a little phone box and works just as well.

Ensure your clinic has either the sound treated room (like us) or a booth. If they have neither, run for the hills.

Question 3: Do you perform Real Ear Measurements?

Real Ear Measurements are special tests that make sure the hearing aids are doing what they are supposed to. If the person you are seeing isn’t doing them, or doesn’t know how to do them, it is a good indication that you aren’t going to get the very best care.

Real Ear Measurements are an essential quality standard for NHS audiologists but in the private sector less than half of all hearing clinics perform them (AIHHP, 2022). Some private audiologists argue they aren’t essential, but it is the only way to independently verify that the hearing aids are performing optimally and there is a mountain of research to show that it improves the clinical outcome.

Question 4: Do they use a hearing instrument test (HIT) box?

A hearing instrument test box allows your audiologist to run diagnostic checks on your hearing aids. It is able to pick up on distortion and other faults such as high battery drain. They are a hugely valuable tool in an audiology clinic but are massively under-utilised in both the NHS and private sector. At Whitstable Hearing, we perform a diagnostic check of your hearing aid using a HIT box at every routine audiologist review, to make sure that your hearing aid is performing as well as it did the day you got it.

What next?

If your hearing clinic is able to satisfy all of the above, the chances are that you are in good hands. However, if they are not meeting these quality standards, it might be time to look for an alternative provider.

And if you are wondering, at Whitstable Hearing, we meet all of the criteria above.

Purchased elsewhere?

If you have purchased your hearing aids from another provider already, don’t worry, we are happy to take on your care moving forward. We believe in fairness and so our fees are the same for everyone. Contact us today to discuss your situation with our expert team.

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Did we also mention our clinic is right opposite the beach?

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