August 15, 2022

The Gold Standard in Hearing Health

We’re often asked “what’s the difference between Hearing Healthcare Practice and the other hearing aid providers in the UK?”

A few years ago, the question was easy to answer as the choice was simple. There was the public, state-delivered service through the NHS and, like us, private care through an independent provider. 

Over time, with partial deregulation, academic changes for entry to the profession as well as the opportunities created by greater consumer access to information and sadly, disinformation, the situation has become more confused. Entrepreneurs have flocked to our sector, seeking to gain access to consumers by promoting attractive pricing, dumbing down the key components of a high-quality audiological delivery, or simply acting as data miners, collecting personal information and selling it on to third parties. This last business model is something we detest in our personal lives, so why is it deemed acceptable in online hearing aid marketing? 

Other than the data miners, I’m sure new opportunities were developed with the best of intentions but it has created a widening gap a broken bridge, if you will, between what is being offered (or is being claimed will be offered ie. ‘unlimited aftercare’ etc.) and what is actually delivered.

And many people end up realising this all too late. 

Meanwhile, and despite all this new competition, our small independent clinic, utilising best practices, has continued to thrive. Delivering the ‘gold standard’, always encompassing the latest audiological thinking and relying on evidence to drive innovation and ever-improving outcomes.

As an example, one ‘gold standard’ Hearing Healthcare Practice employs is Real Ear and Speech Mapping verification in the process of delivering hearing aid technology as part of a client’s hearing treatment. Here, the evidence is compelling: when these tests are correctly implemented, a client will report a score around 94% contentment as opposed to 18% when the tests are not carried out.  Another study in Australia concluded a premium practice was more important than a premium hearing aid in achieving the greatest client satisfaction. 

It would be unprofessional and unethical to publicise other providers’ shortcomings – although we regularly hear about them speaking to clients. As an independent practice, we strive to rise above the melee. And as a professional practice we have a commitment to care for and protect those that seek our help and our advice.

Expert care can only be delivered by taking the time to explore a client’s emotional reaction to their ability to hear, listen, and communicate. These soft skills allow us a deeper insight and help us to inspire our clients to do better and to integrate more fully within their world. The luxury of time allows us to develop our brand of relationship-centered healthcare – one of the key elements which separate us from the other ‘hearing aid sectors.’

So, while the vast majority of websites and marketing materials focus on the product, the hearing aid, and its ‘lowest price’ with scant attention to the need for professional expert skills to provide technical and emotional support as part of an auditory rehabilitation package… we do things differently. 

Correctly fitting hearing aids, which in itself can be far from a straightforward process, enables the client the opportunity to develop improved listening habits. BUT this can ONLY be provided with good auditory rehabilitation training.  This is a dedicated process and takes time. Time that, sadly, many hearing aid distributors fail to offer in their quest to sell a quick fix and move on… resulting in poor outcomes and low satisfaction scores.

The gold standard is out there (we’re here!), you’ve just got to make sure your audiologist is capable of delivering it. 

Caveat Emptor

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