With so many hearing care options now available in Australia, why is choosing an independent hearing clinic the best way to go?
One of the most challenging parts of addressing a medical issue is the process of how to select a specialist, and for hearing health care in Australia this is no different. At last count by a parliamentary inquiry, there are more than 3700 hearing health care providers to choose from in Australia, so those looking for hearing health care may seem spoilt for choice, however what is less apparent is that of these clinics, 85% are wholly or partly owned by larger entities, which means they are not truly ‘independent’ hearing healthcare operators.
So, what does independent audiologist actually mean?
The term ‘independent’ typically refers to a service provider that isn’t owned by a large third-party entity; for example, think of a local corner grocer versus a large supermarket chain. In the hearing industry the most common large third-party entity that may own a hearing clinic is a hearing aid manufacturer. This means that a true ‘independent’ hearing health care provider can run free of any influence from any other owner, and this can ultimately ensure that they are focused on what’s right for you along your entire hearing health journey, from the initial consultation, as well as through the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment phases.
Hang on a minute - isn’t being owned by a larger company a good thing?
Generally speaking, large company ownership can provide benefits to customers – for example it can provide the customer with a better price on certain products due to larger buying power, or it might mean that a service is more widely available due to the coverage of more shopfronts. These things might be acceptable when it comes to buying paint from Bunnings, or groceries from Aldi, however when it comes to something as specialised as hearing health care, and as individual as hearing loss, the ability for an independent to provide a truly tailored program for their client is the best way to achieve an optimal outcome.
What are the benefits of seeking care from an independent hearing clinic?
Trusted, transparent processes
Value Hearing it not vertically integrated or aligned with any hearing aid manufacturer or investment company, you can be assured all decisions about your hearing health care are made by you and your Value Hearing Audiologist.
Freedom of choice
An independent clinic can provide you with greater freedom of choice when it comes to things like appointment style, appointment frequency, price of services, payment process and more. Choosing an independent clinic such as Value Hearing means you will receive a more impartial opinion when it comes to things like hearing aids, with a broader selection available. An independent audiologist is also more aware of technology advances across the entire hearing industry, as they are not limited to a particular brand, so they are not only more experienced with regards to available technology, but they are also free to select and recommend options that may not be available to larger, non-independent clinics. Empowering you during your hearing journey, and the process.
Flexibility and adaptability to a client’s needs
Due to corporate requirements, many larger hearing chains can have strict appointment scheduling processes, which may minimise the time of an appointment or number of appointments possible for a client and may focus solely on selling a hearing aid in order to solve all hearing issues. This can also mean that more complex hearing conditions such as tinnitus and/or balance conditions are often not prioritised or referred elsewhere. An independent hearing clinic can provide a much more holistic experience, and design a unique, individualised program for all hearing conditions based on your specific needs. With the freedom and empowered choice of hearing aids, should you require them. Recent research suggests that many people receiving treatment for their hearing loss are not properly equipped with the necessary skills to make the most of their hearing aids during the fitting process, which highlights the importance of an individualised rehabilitation program structure to ensure clients are getting the best outcomes possible.
How can I tell if my audiologist is independent?
The easiest way is to ask them!
- Ask if they are a local or family-owned business
- Even if the answer to the above is ‘yes’, ask if they are aligned or owned by a particular brand of hearing aid manufacturer or retail chain
- Don’t forget to ask what their appointment policies are, and whether they develop an individualised hearing programs
- Ask them the names of the brands they work with
Does Value Hearing tick all these boxes? Indeed they do, and they tick even more!