The Best Ways to Find an Audiologist
Audiologists are certified medical professionals who diagnose and treat conditions related to the ears. Sometimes, however, they can be difficult to find. Often general practitioners will refer patients with hearing problems to professionals who are not certified audiologists - that is, persons who do not possess a doctorate in clinical or research audiology.
So what are the best ways to find an audiologist?
Ask your insurance company
Insurance companies keep a list of trusted and respected audiologists in their database. Insurers can recommend an audiologist in your area, negating the need for you to go out and search for one yourself. The upside of this process is that you’re likely to get somebody who is fully-qualified. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about payment: monthly premia (should) cover the cost.
The downside is that you have to trust their recommendations. It’s unlikely that they will have personally vetted every audiologist they recommend. And even if they have, they may not have the skills to evaluate them fully.
Ask your doctor
Having a trusted professional recommend an audiologist is one of the best strategies for finding an audiologist. Doctors are in an ideal position to make a judgment about the quality of other medical professionals, thanks to their extensive training and experience.
The downside of taking a doctor’s recommendation is that they may just be promoting the services of their friends, rather than people they know are good. Whether you take your doctor’s advice or do your own research depends on the nature of your relationship with your doctor and what you know of their character.
Finding an audiologist has become a lot easier, thanks to the internet. The American Academy of Audiology provides a list of audiologists available by region and area. All the audiologists listed on the website are certified.
Internet searches provide patients with a fine degree of control over search parameters. Patients can choose to list audiologists in various areas by specialization
But there are downsides. The main problem is that websites, like that of the American Academy of Audiology, do little more than list the names of their members. They don’t provide in-depth information about the soft skills, people skills, temperament, or bedside manner of those in their organization. It’s hard, therefore, to use the internet to find an audiologists who matches your personality.
Consult friends and use word-of-mouth
Unlike internet searches, word-of-mouth provides more personal information about audiologists. Friends, family members and other patients who have used an audiologist can provide valuable information that can help you decide who to choose.
Most audiologists get referrals through word-of-mouth. Referrals negate the need to go to the doctor for a specific recommendation, reducing the number of trips to the clinic.
Of course, there are problems with word-of-mouth recommendations, including whether your insurance company will foot the bill, and whether lay people are in a position to evaluate the quality of a particular professional. But they can provide valuable insight, especially when used in conjunction with other methods of finding an audiologist.