Are my audiogram and REM hearing tests portable?

I tried Phonak Lyrics for 4 months and unfortunately I was not able to stay with them. I eventually secured a pro-rata refund and am now planning to buy new hearing aids via Zip Hearing and another audiologist (driven mainly by the fact that the new devices will be some $2k cheaper.)

I have asked my audiologist twice for the comprehensive hearing evaluation she did 4 months ago so I can give this to the new audiologist but she has not yet done it. I assume, since they are my healthcare data and I paid for the tests themselves, that I own the results and the audiologist is obliged to give them to me. Before I kick up a fuss, can anyone tell me if the audiologist conventionally withholds such data and whether this is legitimate.

(Bty the way, I haven’t asked for an explanation as to why she hasn’t sent the rest;ts to me, so there could be a perfectly benign reason why!)

I believe there are legal precedents set in the US and Canada which have determined that medical data belongs to the patient, and cannot be withheld. That said if push comes to shove, I believe you have to make the request for it in writing, and they have 30 days to respond, and can charge you for the cost of preparing it. That said, most clinics will not prescribe hearing aids based on somebody else’s testing. Costco for sure will not, and insist on redoing the testing, but of course that is free there.

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Great, thanks. Useful insight. I will drop a letter in to the practice on Monday requesting the data. The new practice I will be buying from is run by a hearing aid fitter whereas the existing test which is only 4 months old, was done by an audiologist. Maybe there’s a difference or maybe I am just being perknickety because I shelled out $250 for the battery!

  1. Yes they must give you the test results.

  2. Because your last test was recent the new place may just check the results and give you an abbreviated and cheaper test.

  3. The savings from buying through Zip may not be what you expect. The initial cost of the aids may be less but over time the extra costs add up. Shop around, you may be able to do better.

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Talking to the fitter that zip introduced me to, the warranty was manufacturer dependent and the price included a hearing test and 5 visits in three years for fitting tuning and cleaning. What else should I consider to compare Zip with other volume sellers? I really hate the bundling that seems prevalent with hardware sales and like the idea that I go to an Audi for a health check once a year, free of any hardware incentives

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I guess one thing to do would be to ask the fitter how much they would charge you for the same deal if you had come to them directly.

Beyond that, of course the more you can do for yourself the less you need done by others. 5 follow-up visits in 3 years may not be enough especially if 3 of the 5 are all within the first month which is not unusual. Agreed that bundling is often unnecessary but not always. YMMV.

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Thanks for your advice. Interestingly the visits were described as being “as needed” and not restricted to 5 visits if more visits were seen as necessary. I never made a small print comparison between the fitter and my previous premium audiologist but the principle of the aftercare sounds similar. No different to other choices in healthcare I guess… as you rightly say YMMV!

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I don’t know any audi which will work with audiograms not made by them. Each one will do his/her own test. They’ll look on your previous audiogram, of course, just to have an idea.

Ditto on the right to a copy of your tests. HIPPA requires it. Some practices may have a copying or handling charge of $25-50 but they are required to give it to you. I would find out if your new fitter uses Real Ear Measurement and if they are very familiar with the product you will be getting. If they don’t do REM and are not very familiar with your product, you could get really good hearing aids and have a really bad fitting. The product itself is probably only about 40% of the equation. The fitter makes the magic happen. It should really not make a difference whether it is an audiologist or hearing aids specialist who does the fitting, the difference is how they do the fitting. I would also encourage you to have them do a speech in noise test (Quik Sin or HINT) to get an idea of how you will do in a noisy environment.

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