Annual Hearing Exam?

Early last year I decided to look for replacements for my 7 year old Widex ITC hearing aids. I first tried Phonak aids from a large local audiology practice, but returned them because they never sounded right.

I just got a post card from them in the mail saying it is time for my annual hearing examination. They are offering 3 free battery packs if I bring in the card.

I did not think annual hearing examinations are normally needed. What do the professionals here think? It sounds like a money grab to me. One reasin I chose this company is because they billed my health insurance for the hearing exam. This is a group of audiologists, not ENTs.

We do them as part of our ongoing care package for all clients, stating from the end of the 2nd year. It’s not a money maker for us, but it keeps the records up to date and sorts out any on going tuning/wear problems. Also the aids get a full service at the time.

They are not referring to a check & tuning, but to a hearing examination. I rejected their trial because they could not get the aids programmed anywhere close for me. I even tried 2 models (Solana and then Cassia) hoping a fresh start would be better.

For those curious, their web site is here. Although they list multiple brands, they are a Phonak-only shop.

I do NOT recommend them.

Well, being in an ENT office we often have annual audios scheduled but a lot of insurances are getting pretty picky about what they will and will not pay for and a hearing test just to do one often is one of those things that is rejected. We don’t do “free” diagnostic evaluations. That is a marketing tactic to get people in your door typically to find those with hearing loss and sell them a hearing aid. I’ve worked in 2 dispensing offices and that was why we did the Annual tests. Since we didn’t bill for them, we could do them as often as we wanted.

When you have an insurance company to report to and justify testing, you tend to be a little more cautious when doing diagnostic tests to make sure it’s something you are going to get paid for doing.

If the patient’s hearing hasn’t perceptually changed then IMHO there’s no reason to do a test every year. The chance of a significant change in hearing that the patient doesn’t recognize is unlikely to happen in a 12-month period. Now if anything changes like their tinnitus or hearing level then absolutely a test is warranted.

We encourage annual testing just to keep up with records. It is free from us specialists. Of course, people with HL have to put up with my sales pitch too, but I am up front about it.

Yes, that’s what happens here: if you don’t do a proper hearing test you can’t really adjust the aids with any degree of accuracy as your REM target would be flawed.

But this is after a failed test. I have never bought anything forom them except the small portion for the hearing test.In fact, it cost them money because they insisted on custom ear molds. They placed them in my folder, in case I came back.

Why would they think I should come back to them??

Your in their data base and that is why you got the card and if you come in for a hearing test they get a second crack at you. I belong to Kaiser and they will give you a free hearing test every year.

Agree with Seb on this one. Their database probably did some kind of search and your name came up as someone who came in and tried but never bought. That’s my guess anyway.

I’m going to be honest here. It’s a money grab. :eek:

Okay, hyperbole out of the way, annual tests are common in the industry. For one thing it does allow us to have a record of how your hearing might be changing. It also allows the hearing professional to have a discussion about how things are going.

The real commercial reason for doing it is the hope that eventually during one of these annual checks, you’ll admit you wish you could hear better, and then the hearing professional will show you some shiny new hearing aid that can improve you hearing.

In short, the main reason from a business point of view is that you will be in the habit of seeing your hearing professional regularly, so that when you eventually decide you want to try something new, you’ll return there to spend your money. If you are doing well, they may also be interested in knowing if you have a friend or relative who might need help too.

So yes, there is a commercial interest in annual check ups. But there is also a medical benefit too. A hearing professional may be able to spot something unusual that may need further investigation from a medical professional. They may notice a change in your hearing that would behoove you to have some programming changes to the aid. If you have a decent hearing aid, there may be a firmware update that can add new features or capabilities to your hearing aid. They may well clean and service your aids too, to make sure you are happy.

So while there are obvious commercial interests in seeing you annually, there are also plenty of reasons why it actually benefits you and is worth doing.