There are so many styles of hearing aids from a variety of manufacturers that even an experienced wearer can be overwhelmed by the choice.
It’s our job to help you navigate those options to work out what is best for your hearing, your lifestyle and your budget.
The first thing that sets Hear Here apart from the High Street chains is that we are genuinely independent.
This means that the business is wholly owned by Gill and me. We set it up on our own; we have taken no loans or any other ‘incentives’ from manufacturers; and we have no debts that could influence our impartiality. Naturally though, as Director of Audiology with over 15 years’ experience in hearing care, I have preferences that have developed over time, based on my extensive, hands on experience. Manufacturers’ standards on things as diverse as build quality, customer support, innovation, range of products and technological development – which includes how well recent advances like Bluetooth connectivity and rechargeability actually work in practice – have all influenced my preferences.
Secondly, something that isn’t well known to the public is that most High Street chains are either owned by manufacturers or have agreements with only a few preferred suppliers, which mean that they recommend from a limited product range, which is often influenced by profit rather than suitability for your hearing loss.
You should also beware of other so-called ‘independents’ who have taken loans or entered into agreements with manufacturers to deliver a certain percentage of ‘units’ for additional discounts. There are at least three of these businesses operating in Edinburgh alone, who claim to be independent but are partly or wholly financed by manufacturers in return for selling their products.
Independence alone though, isn’t enough to give you the confidence that I’m the right audiologist for you, so let me explain a little more about what we do that sets us apart from the rest:
There are a number of things that I do differently from most other audiologists. Some of them will do some of these things, not all of them will do all of these things!
From the German engineered Heine otoscope that I use to look in your ears, to impression material suitable for paediatrics (which is much more comfortable for adults too) every piece of equipment I use is top quality. I simply don’t believe in using cheap, low quality materials when dealing with something as valuable and precious as your hearing; nor will I risk my reputation to save a few pennies.
A more accurate measurement
The MedRx A2D audiometer we use to test hearing is calibrated on an annual basis and is recognised as one of the most robust and accurate portable audiometers on the market.
One of many reasons for using this particular audiometer is that it allows for insert earphone testing rather than old fashioned headphones. If the hearing aid sound outlet sits in your ear canal then it simply makes sense to test IN your ear canal.
A more thorough test
We will always test your hearing according to British Society of Audiology (BSA) recommended procedures for pure tone audiometry (PTA) and I always include the BSA uncomfortable loudness level (ULL) test as standard also. While all private audiologists in the UK must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) there is no guarantee that they will test to both of these standards.
The only thing worse than a hearing aid that is too quiet is one that is too loud – so by finding out the loudest sounds you are comfortable hearing I can ensure that your hearing aids do not go louder than this. The ULL test also helps you get better clarity.
Speech testing as standard
I always conduct a speech test as standard, preferably using the voice of a loved one – and ideally the one you live with that may have to repeat things to you! – so that together we can establish exactly what parts of speech are causing you difficulty. This will help get the initial settings right for you.
Intelligent and responsive rehabilitation
We actually hear with our brains! Our ears pick up the signals, however it’s our brains that interpret those signals. If there are certain signals that your brain hasn’t been receiving for some time, it’s not realistic to expect it to go from zero to full capacity overnight.
This is why I usually do not apply the full level of amplification on day one. Most people’s hearing loss has taken a number of years to develop, so to receive a lot of additional volume all at once can be a lot of additional information for the brain to process. All of which can be overwhelming. I will usually set the hearing aids below optimum level to start, provide you with a two-week programme of use to allow you to adjust, then schedule a second visit at that two-week stage to assess your rehabilitation, conduct fine-tuning, and identify if a further visit is required.
We will agree together how this process is managed and we will work at your pace to reach your goal of better hearing.
Annual re-testing free of charge
The beauty of digital technology within modern hearing aids is that they can be re-programmed, so that you are always hearing to your optimum ability. We recommend annual testing to ensure that you aren’t living with an outdated prescription in your hearing aids and we do this as part of our commitment to your hearing care.
Why would we do this?
Firstly, because it’s quite simply the right thing to do. If you are willing to trust us with something as valuable as your hearing, and you pay us to help you look after it, then we should be prepared to commit to care and service, not just for now but for as long as you have the hearing aids you bought from us.
Secondly, it’s good business practice. If we take care of all our patients and deliver on the commitment to look after your hearing by re-testing and re-programming your aids every year, then you are far more likely to recommend us to family and friends, and the cost of me doing this is offset by the fact that we need to advertise less to generate new customers. That way our business overheads are kept low, and we can keep our prices lower too. So it's a win/win!
Continuity of care
At Hear Here we value continuity of care as much as we do ongoing care. You won’t have a different person seeing you every visit as often happens with our bigger competitors; who typically use their ‘rookies’ to deal with any service issues, so that they can gain experience. You should be nobody’s guinea pig!
It will always be the same audiologist that you see, and we hope by now, that you have come to understand that we are as passionate about what we do and dedicated to doing it to the very best of our ability.
That’s the real quality and service difference that you can expect from us at Hear Here.
We hope that this has allowed you to appreciate the levels of care, commitment and professionalism that we aim to deliver. We understand that you will still have questions and are more than happy to answer them:
Initial consultations are free of charge, so please call us on 0800 228 9997 now.