The cover story in January’s Hearing Journal was “Patient Satisfaction Crucial to Shrinking Hearing Aid Returns,” an article that examines the factors contributing to returns. Writer, Susan Fitzgerald, says,”Patients are less likely to be dissatisfied with a hearing aid purchase when an audiologist or other hearing healthcare provider takes the time to understand the patients’ motivation for buying a hearing aid, what their needs and expectations are, and even how their significant others feel about the decision.”
We couldn’t agree more. Patient counseling is crucial to selling a hearing aid and making sure the patient is happy with it. There is a tendency to associate “returns” with poor performing, low quality technology. Quite the contrary, a great device can unduly get a bad rap if it is not fitted properly. Technology works best when the audiologist understands the patient’s hearing loss and specific needs, and can make a technology recommendation based on those needs.
Laurel Christensen, PhD, ReSound’s chief audiology officer, says it is difficult to put precise numbers on each of the reasons hearing aids are returned. But she estimates that many returns involve people who go on to successfully use a hearing aid, often by changing to another model or brand of instrument. “I believe that if you’re properly fitted with the right hearing aid, the technology is so good today that it can solve the vast majority of problems,” said Dr. Christensen, who also teaches a course on hearing aids at Rush University in Chicago.
Dr. Christensen, who will be leading a panel on best practices in hearing aid fitting at the American Academy of Audiology meeting in April, says she teaches her audiology students that a satisfied patient is all about “choosing the right hearing aid for the patient and fitting this aid appropriately. It all comes down to identifying the problem the patient is trying to solve and then identifying the right hearing aid system to solve the problem.”
Read the full article over at The Hearing Journal.