This is what patients want, do you agree?

Sorry folks I can’t find where I got this from at this time!!

‘Hear’s’ what patients want

Those difficult early years of experiencing hearing loss stay with me, however, and I’m not the only one. People with hearing loss remember their first visit to an audiologist’s office. They experience high hopes alongside great worry. Here are five things I—and other patients—want from audiologists during that first visit and throughout our care.

  1. Acknowledge our hearing loss story. Some stories are traumatic—others less so—but every patient has one. Give all patients a little time to talk. Ask why we’re there and listen to our answer. Your response has a big impact on the likelihood we’ll continue treatment. Offering upbeat yet realistic expectations for what we can accomplish also helps us accept the diagnosis.
  2. Provide accommodations at your office. Your receptionist should be welcoming and easy to understand, even over the phone. Speaking clearly and while facing the patient is critical. Consider investing in a hearing loop for your office. Not only does it show respect, but it can also be used to test the t-coil in your patients’ hearing aids. Provide a written summary of each visit including audiogram results and recommended action steps. This makes us more likely to follow your advice.
  3. Focus on hearing solutions, not products. Be sure to explore your patient’s priorities for hearing better. Do they work and need a captioned phone? Attend the theater often? Dine out frequently? The more you know, the more appropriate solutions you can offer.
  4. Keep up to date on hearing assistive technology. New devices are constantly coming on the market to help people with hearing loss watch TV, enjoy dining out and more successfully, and attend a lecture or live performance. Stay current on innovations to better integrate these items into your patient’s hearing loss tool kit.
  5. Bridge a link to the broader hearing loss community. Your patient looks to you for answers. Explain the risks of untreated hearing loss, the latest scientific research and where she can go to learn more. Suggest the patient meet other people with hearing loss through a local HLAA chapter or similar group. A strong community for your patient helps support better hearing.
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Yes this. Unless the provider is really bad at their job, it is not the aid or the programming that causes patients to keep switching providers it is all the rest.

My first aid I was told which brand and style would work for me, I was told there were others but not why this was best. I went with it because I didn’t know better but it wasn’t long before I stopped going and eventually switched because it felt like The goal was to get me in and out as fast as possible.

The next provider didn’t change much on the aids but did offer explanations, choices, and options. The big difference was it felt like my hearing loss was being treated and not my audiogram. Their office staff did leave something to be desired.

Speaking of which, give options for setting up appointments online or by text. For some of us it doesn’t matter how good the technology is, phone calls will still be problematic.

From the business side, it is getting easier to find the hardware for less, it is the service you provide that will keep people coming in.

Thanks for posting this - it’s exactly whwre I find myself with my current audiology clinic. My audiologist is competent , empathetic, and effective (I can hear much better!), but the front-office staff act like gatekeepers more than they act as intermediaries or interfaces with my caregiver. I don’t like it, and they don’t like my persistence when I’m not getting answers for my issues.

It warrants a heart-to-heart with my audiologist, for sure, and - if not resolved - the front office situation could cause me to start shopping around again.

I agree with you 100%. That is what I wish I had for my first audiologist (really ENT) exam. My first audiogram was done with an ENT. After the testing did show actual hearing loss, that was it. He said you do have hearing loss, shook my hand and the appointment was over. I only have Medicare and Medicaid, so I had to scratch and scrounge for an audiologist that took medicaid. I finally found one.But I discovered I was only able to, under Medcaid
(Medicare doesn’t care about people with hearing impairments, apparently!), to get one hearing aid per 2 or 3 (I forget) years. Ridiculous!
Even then this hearing aid never worked right, I was always going back and forth for adjustments, none ever worked to improve my hearing or comfort in wearing the hearing aid.
Let alone deal with the emotional and other important factors of experiencing hearing loss.
I went to a private audiologist, who just did another audiogram, and ended up a sales pitch for the hearing aids I have now. They work well, but were expensive.
My present audiologist does a better job of listening to my story, and does actually talk to me, unlike any other in the years before. It encourages me to wear my hearing aids, and accept my hearing loss a little better. He is also very knowledgeable about audiology, and actually gave me more than one possible solution for treatment. I wish also that more doctors would just listen and accomodate (yes, even the rest of the staff) for our hearing loss better. Thank you cvkemp, for your excellent post; for I feel that most patients would want the things you have so conveniently listed above.

@pathurley that was exactly my first appointment. The HIS told me the ones I tried were the best for me, even though she didn’t ask about my loss, what I was looking for or how I would use them. Thankfully I had done some research and went to Costco where I was asked many questions and given several options. It was much more in line with what was presented above.

Medicare and Medicaid are, as you know, different programs. Medicad is more restrictive to get but generally covers more. Medicare was only designed to cover very basic costs - it is not, nor ever was, meant to be “Health Insurance”. In fact, when Medicare was first rolled out, insurance did not cover many of the things we now expect it to.
Also, Medicare doen’t pay anywhere near standard fees, so you are asking a provider to work for a drastic pay cut AND frequently pay another staff member just to file and track those same reduced payments. No wonder they feel the need to ‘rush’ and ask minimal questions. They have bills and Medicare doesn’t pay them!
This is why Medicare recipients generally feel the need for supplements, which are really just insurance you pay extra for. And, to remain profitable, they generally limit what they cover as well (no hearing aid, for one!)
So, when you hear (hopefully) someone talk about Medicare for all realize that they are not talking about Health Insurance for all. Just some basic hospitilization and basic office visits. And “all” are still going to have to pay for either insurance or the care they recieve.

I guess I’m lucky. I got all of those except for number 5 and number 5 doesn’t interest me. Maybe that’s why I’ve been with the same Audi for over 30 years

I will also add some times the patient needs to lead instead of following. I just emailed my Audiologist pushing for the firmware update.

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And now, time for something completely different.

@cvkemp I, understand every post from top down and I am sympathetic, but…
I also wear both a patient hat and a provider hat. Most people here (and everywhere else) look through a window only from one side.

#1) Yeah we all want to talk. And talk, and talk, and talk. Yes, your individual story is important, that’s why you filled out a new patient history and are given an update sheet every tie you come in. Be complete and details, I can read it and have likely read many just like it, if you have something unique I will ask clarifying questions!, I don’t need to hear about your aunt Sophie, how the cake got ruined, what the weather was that day, or your son’s new doper girlfriend. You may not be awareof it but I have other patients and I have alloted enough time to comfortably and competently treat your problems . But when you ramble on about your life and issues it shoots my schedule.
We give you exhaustive instructions, usually repeated by 3 people and written, and yet, every week we get phone calls asking what to do and complaints at follow up appointmnets that they weren’t told something or other. Giving complete instructions is only partially successful.
#2) Accomadations are great, seldom used and never appricated. I purchased several double wide chairs for “large people”. Want to guess what chairs everybody gravitates toward whenthe walk in the door?,
#'3 and 4 are good
#5) Sorry, I’m not a social coordinator. That eats time, people that are into these things find the mby themselves, those that don’t require handholding to locate them, sign up, and log in. I can hear them calling my front desk because they forgot their password.

But here’s the really big issue, I’m not an audiologist but the dynamics are identical, when you run these sorts of businesses you really are’t selling hearing aids - I suspect they would all go under if they had to subsist solely on those sales (like car dealers). What they (and physicians, dentists, and the like) are selling is THEIR TIME. I have to bill $1000 /hour. That pays my physical plant, supplies, insurance, utilities, saleries, payroll taxes,(and the payroll company to keep track of it all), my accountant, lawyer fees from time to time, lisences, that new equipment you all like, uniforms, and other nessesities. Then I get to keep whatever is leftover. So if I take care of what you came in for in 15 minutes and the shoot the bull, letting you meander on minutia, for 45 minutes you are going to have to pay that $750. Your insurance company won’t.
I bet an audiology office runs about about 50 to 60 percent overhead from looking at the ones I’ve been in.
Now @SpudGunner, you may not believe this but that front desk lady you dislike IS the gatekeeper, she HAS to control the flow in the office - she knows how many people are in the waiting room, who’s coming in, and my personal schedule. When something runs long she has to adjust on the fly, make excuses to keep everybody happy, and get me back where I need to be when I need to be there. Used to have sweet, cute girls there, hired a big buck consultant - she hired a stern, middle aged, force of nature for more money than I thought I could afford. Within a few months profits increased, tensions decreased, things ran smoother. Within 6 months I cut a day out of our schedule and still did better! And don’t think that patients didn’t like the fact that a 10:00 AM appointment meant they would be seen AT 10:00 AM, not “somewhere between 10:00 and 11:00”.

Believe me, most people in these jobs want to help you but they know best how to do it (well, the good ones and the smart ones do). Their expertise runs beyond just doing the care that you came in for - it’s delivering that care in an efficient , cost effective, manner. Remember “Gunsmoke”? Doc Adams could ride 20 miles, deliver a baby, head back to the Longbranch before going to bed and apparently make a living. You cant do that today, if you aren’t running yout business LIKE a business, your creditors will run you out of business.

@molarface, I don’t dislike the person at the front desk.

… however, I do dislike the liberties you take with the interpretation of my posts so you can blow your own horn.

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I haven’t had a good experience with private Audiologist clinic, I felt like I wasn’t important once the put the hearing aids in my ears that first time. My best experiences have been the Veterans Administration Clinics, there I felt I was important and my hearing needs was more important and never felt I was being rushed out the door. I know my experiences are different than most, but I feel that the mess that have to put out $3500 - $7000 + should get much better service than I did at the 3 private clinics I dealt with. At the VA clinics I was treated so much better even at the worst one I went to.

@cvkemp: Just to shore you up on the legitimacy of this point: my family doctor has photocopied information/contact sheets for tons off troublesome diagnoses.

If, for instance, you or a loved one have a diagnosis of cancer, dementia, depression - anything worrisome and life-changing - she has an information sheet with links, descriptions, telephone numbers, names of support groups, etc that are a genuine help in getting you connected with a community that’s built around your diagnosis.

That’s the kind of assistance that I believe is being referenced in the helpful article you shared, and not “tea time with @molarface”, as was so disingenuously implied.

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We all know that time is money, my Audiologist at the VA clinic I now go to allows me to and prefers that I email him a list if my issues about a week before my appointment. That gives him time to do any research and even pre-stage my fitting changes a head of the appointment. My Audiologist also knows my hearing issues, my ability to understand technology, and he also, knows that I have and do research my hearing loss and issues. He also understands my hearing environments. So there isn’t or very little time wasted with long explanations. He is also not offended when I ask complicated questions or ask for certain fitting changes, or suggest changes that I believe may help me. That is the type of service that hearing loss person needs to really hit the peak of fits. I hear so many stores of people being told and given what I feel is nothing but cookie cutter fitting services.

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I’m not saying you are wrong in your post, in a perfect world it would be just like that. Sadly, the private audiologis has kids, a wife with a credit card, staff demanding raises, and so on. The skillfull learn how to move people through an office without feeling rushed. The VA has no need to worry about being fiscally responsible. I visited an old buddy at a VA clinic about 12 years ago and hung out all afternoon with him. Never have I seen so much wasted time - did they treat people nicely? Yes. Do good work? Yes. Have the latest equiptment? The best taxpayers could by. Did the Waste everybodies time? You bet, they would have gone broke in 3 months in private practice. When I asked my friend about it he explained that he knew they could be much more efficient but that they were following the rules. So I believe you.

1 - Sir, I have lived that scenario for many years. Like everything in life, something may not apply to everyboby, but everybody must be treated the same. You’re a guitar guy, I once had a custom guitar maker come in with some of his wares - gorgeous and I really did appriciate the effort and him risking scratching one just to show me. But I didn’t have the time I made time of course because I saw where his heart was but my afternoon was shot my staff mad, and I was late getting home.
2- Tea time w/SpudGunner? Thought you’d be a Molson and moose jerky kinda guy.

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Tell that to YOUR dentist.

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I’m not sure if this is universal, but in this country ‘Dental Surgeons’ are WAY more qualified than your average hearing aid dispenser (and Audiologist)You don’t get to put people to sleep, prescribe drugs and perform potentially live changing surgery on any audiology course; even at Phd level.

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Again, I undr=erstand, but please YOU understand - you are in a situation where a few people are being treated at a clinic paid for by everybody. Now, the stories of slipshod medical care at VA clinic is legendary, but still there are wonderful stories from there as well. I am truly glad yours is working so well. And really, I think your approach would work at a private office, but few people would send something in, good idea though.

It seems to me- FROM WHAT I HAVE READ HERE ON THIS FORUM - that the overall experience of people in countries with fully socialized medicine is not always as pleasant as yours. I have seen some posts that show to me cost cutting for instance. Not all, and there is the effect of people genuinely feeling that their healthcare system is the best in the world - no matter what. That really makes it hard to draw accurate inferences from anectdotal posts.

The mind boggles.

I’m thinking it’s the cold weather.

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