Is Concierge Audiology Right for You?
With the advancement of cellphones, we literally have the world at our fingertips every second of every day. Gone are the days when you need to go to a department store to purchase clothing or find a dictionary to look up a definition of a word. Many people will even turn to the internet to diagnosis their ailments rather than going to see their doctor. But I wonder if we have gone too far. Is the convenience of the internet overshadowing the importance of building professional relationships with our doctors, financial advisors, accountants, and so on? I believe, and studies have found, that as we replace these personal relationships with the internet our lives become commoditized. Which may be fine when you’re buying toilet paper or groceries but when it comes to the bigger things like health care and financial planning having a relationship with your provider is still indispensable.
When I first considered starting a concierge audiology practice colleagues and friends of mine had many well intentioned yet misguided concerns; they felt it wasn’t feasible to carry all the equipment, they thought spending hours with one patient was unthinkable, and they worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the follow up and repairs that come with hearing aids. Admittedly these were all valid concerns, but I was envisioning my practice from a fresh perspective. I was designing my practice from the perspective of the patient rather than the doctor. Wouldn’t it be great if I could give a patient as much time as they needed to complete the testing and explain the results? Offer them the opportunity to be part of the hearing aid selection process and listen to the instruments customized to their hearing needs before buying them. Then do the unthinkable and program their hearing aid right there in their home, office, restaurant, or other environment they would be wearing the hearing aids.
What I envisioned then has now become a reality and I can confidently say it is not only feasible but preferable. In this age of on-line living, I have re-ignited the personal connection that is lost when we turn to the internet. Now the only question I get from colleagues and doctors I work with is who they should refer to me. My answer is simple, anyone with hearing problems. My current patients who have been seen both in a traditional audiology setting and in their home with me will all agree that at home is best when it comes to hearing aids.
I love working with new patients even when they are seeing me reluctantly. Watching a new patient change their perspective on their hearing loss after experiencing what hearing aids can do for them is the most rewarding part of my job. It reinforces what I do and shows that you cannot replace the professional relationship.
Those of you who already have hearing aids but are still struggling to hear should also consider concierge audiology. It could be that you have good quality hearing aids but they are not properly programmed. This is not to say that your audiologist did a bad job but rather that he/she did not have the full picture when programming. What I can offer as a concierge audiologist is customized programming in the comfort of your home. This allows me to take into account the acoustics of your home, the hum of your refrigerator, or at what distance your spouse is when talking with you. You, of course, can also immediately hear the difference and know when the programming is right for you.
Hearing aids technology is constantly improving as computers are able to process and manipulate sounds faster and with more accuracy. Therefore, if you have a hearing aid that is five-years-old you may not be hearing as well as you could be. Concierge audiology offers you a chance to put the new technology to the test. Will you hear better with new hearing aids? The only way to know is to try them out in your home with your TV, phone, spouse or other scenario that typically causes you difficulty. The best way I know to explain this is by using my bed analogy. I used to believe that my bed was good and did not need to be replaced. Then I went on a weekend get-a-way with my husband and had the most wonderful night’s sleep in the most luxurious bed. After that trip we were in the market for a new bed. Why would we continue to have mediocre sleep if we could sleep like babies every night?
So, who can benefit from concierge audiology? Everyone from the first-time patient to those who have worn hearing aids for years. Anyone with hearing problems who appreciates and understands the value of have an audiologist who will take the time to listen to their problems and work with them to solve it. Those who appreciate the convenience of having the appointment take place in their own home or office. Those who like talking to a person rather than a machine when calling their doctor and who appreciate having their emails answered promptly. Ready for your consult? Call (773-454-4740) or email (email@example.com) to schedule your consult today.