Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center
Hearing Aids - When and How. All about access to hearing aids.
Hearing loss and access to care.
The current healthcare environment is very sensitive to issues of access. One of the problems we face is understanding what various parties mean when they speak of access. This problem has recently come to my attention regarding questions of access for patients to hearing aids.
There are many reasons why those with significant hearing loss are not participants in the current system, including, but not limited to: failure to realize the problem, denial of the problem, perceptions regarding a potentially complex system, and cost. While the AAO-HNS (American Academy of Otolaryngology –Head and Neck Surgery) agrees that efforts must be made to overcome these barriers, we must move forward with careful consideration and analysis relating to what can be done to significantly increase utilization (by easing entry and reducing costs) while retaining necessary protection for patients.
To this end, the AAO-HNS is generally supportive of the concept of denoting a “basic” category of hearing aids, which would be more easily available for purchase by seniors.
Although the AAO-HNS believes providing access to a lower-cost or “basic” hearing aid could/would likely benefit a large portion of the seniorpopulation, we caution that specific action should first be taken to ensure that a particular individual/patient’s condition actually falls into designated categories of hearing loss (e.g. bilateral, gradual onset, mild-to-moderate age-related hearing loss).
Although we find ourselves in a period of disruptive technology that has made it possible for many patients to participate in self-screening and monitoring of many diseases, we assert it is an overstatement to conclude that all patients/consumers could or would be able to self-diagnose, self-treat, and self-monitor their hearing loss. For example, an individual living alone may personally evaluate his/her hearing loss as only mild or moderate, not realizing that another individual with normal hearing would not be able to tolerate the excessive television, etc. volume used to compensate for the person’s hearing loss.
Therefore, the AAO-HNS strongly recommends the retention of a medical evaluation by a physician, followed by a standardized hearing test (via a hearing health professional or appropriate online/technological source), BEFORE an individual could seek purchase of any type of basic hearing aid or other FDA-regulated assistive hearing device.
Here at Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center, we are privileged to have two outstanding audiologist to work with. We can provide a thorough hearing evaluation as well as hearing aidfitting and service, if necessary. Call 205-980-2091 to schedule an appointment today.