New Jersey free hearing tests come with a price.
Have you noticed how many hearing aid advertisements offer “free hearing tests?” Most of these ads are from non-audiologist hearing aid dispensers, the kind of folks you see at the “big box” stores and retail chains like Costco.
Without the foundation of a professional audiological evaluation, recommendations for the proper hearing aid for a specific patient can amount to “guess work.” Will some patients claim that the hearing aid “sounds great?” Sure, but how much greater might it sound if properly fit, based on a solid assessment of the auditory system…a professional audiological evaluation.
The extent of training a non-audiologist dispenser amounts to a home study course and 6 months of “training” with another hearing aid dispenser. In New Jersey, you don’t even need a high school diploma to sell hearing aids.
Contrast this with a Doctor of Audiology who spends 8 years of college (four years beyond the bachelor degree) and takes a national exam administered by the Educational Testing Service and obtains a New Jersey license before being allowed to practice.
Insurance companies and Medicare will not reimburse non-audiologists for hearing tests. So the non-audiologist hearing aid dispenser either offers a “free hearing test” to get customers in the door, or if you’re already in the door, build the charge into the cost of the hearing aid.
The audiologist will measure speech discrimination in a background of noise and will determine levels of sound that are comfortable and uncomfortable, not only speech but narrow bands of noise.
The audiologist will compare these values to levels where their patient feels the sounds are “too loud.” Adjustments to output, specifications for noise limiting circuitry will be incorporated into the hearing aid, etc.
The audiologist may also identify problems with central auditory processing that the non-audiologist cannot. A central auditory processing problem can significantly effect success with hearing aids and must be taken into account.
Without an exact, comprehensive, assessment of the auditory system, hearing aid recommendations from a non-audiologist can be futile.
Speech and Hearing Associates holds a reputation as a leader in providing comprehensive audiological evaluations as well as access to state-of-the-art hearing aids. Eighty percent of SHA’s referrals come from physicians, ENTs and satisfied patients. To make an appointment with one of our audiologists, contact us at 800-742-7551 .