Private Practice vs. Big Box Hearing Aid Clinics | Eagle Hearing
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Patient Audiology Blog

02Oct

Private Practice vs. Big Box Hearing Aid Clinics

Our patients sometimes ask us to compare our services, as a private practice audiology clinic, with those in a big-box warehouse store. Below, we summarize the main differences.

  Big-Box Hearing Center Private Hearing Center
Training and Experience
  • Majority of providers are hearing instrument specialists.
  • In Idaho, specialists must hold a high school diploma and pass a practical and a written examination.
  • Audiologists entering the profession must hold a doctoral degree (4 years of graduate level university education / clinical experience). Education requires extensive training in diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders.
  • Clinical skills have been evaluated in multiple settings by experienced audiologists.
Measuring & Adjusting the Hearing Aids
  • Big box stores generally do not have the measurement equipment to allow a precise hearing aid fitting.
  • When stores have measurement equipment, often the personnel do not have the training to use the equipment properly.
  • Audiologists utilize real-ear measurement equipment in fitting hearing aids in order to ensure that your hearing aids are properly fitted.
  • Research has demonstrated that real-ear measures are vital to maximizing the audibility and comfort of hearing aid fittings.
Environment
  • Located within a warehouse, with little privacy for patients waiting to see specialist.
  • Noise from warehouse may interfere with consultations and hearing tests.
  • Comfortable office with a waiting room. Conversations between the provider and patients take place in a private setting.
  • Hearing test booth is situated in a quiet setting to ensure validity of test results.
Services
  • Unlikely to find an individual that is qualified to properly diagnosed hearing loss and balance disorders.
  • Very limited diagnostic equipment available.
  • Tinnitus treatment is not offered. Services beyond hearing aids are limited.
  • Generally do not perform cerumen (earwax) removal.
  • Wide breadth of clinical equipment and knowledge, which allows proper diagnoses of hearing and balance to be completed.
  • Audiologists can address and treat tinnitus. They also can test children.
  • Qualified to perform cerumen (earwax) removal.
Hearing Aid Technology
  • Limited to a few manufacturers and models.
  • Does not offer CROS for single sided deafness.
  • Do not work with cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids
  • Hearing aids may be locked so only stores within the chain can adjust the hearing aids.
  • Hearing aids may not be repairable after 4-5 years.
  • Technology may not always be current.
  • Dispenses a wide range of models across multiple manufacturers.
  • Offers CROS hearing aids and bone conduction devices.
  • Some audiologists are qualified to work with cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids.
  • Can generally have hearing aids repaired, even if they are older than 5 years.
  • Provides the most current and up to date technology.

Training and Experience

Big-Box Hearing Center

  • Majority of providers are hearing instrument specialists.
  • In Idaho, specialists must hold a high school diploma and pass a practical and a written examination.

Private Hearing Center

  • Audiologists entering the profession must hold a doctoral degree (4 years of graduate level university education / clinical experience). Education requires extensive training in diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders.
  • Clinical skills have been evaluated in multiple settings by experienced audiologists.

Measuring & Adjusting the Hearing Aids

Big-Box Hearing Center

  • Big box stores generally do not have the measurement equipment to allow a precise hearing aid fitting.
  • When stores have measurement equipment, often the personnel do not have the training to use the equipment properly.

Private Hearing Center

  • Audiologists utilize real-ear measurement equipment in fitting hearing aids in order to ensure that your hearing aids are properly fitted.
  • Research has demonstrated that real-ear measures are vital to maximizing the audibility and comfort of hearing aid fittings.

Environment

Big-Box Hearing Center

  • Located within a warehouse, with little privacy for patients waiting to see specialist.
  • Noise from warehouse may interfere with consultations and hearing tests.

Private Hearing Center

  • Comfortable office with a waiting room. Conversations between the provider and patients take place in a private setting.
  • Hearing test booth is situated in a quiet setting to ensure validity of test results.

Services

Big-Box Hearing Center

  • Unlikely to find an individual that is qualified to properly diagnosed hearing loss and balance disorders.
  • Very limited diagnostic equipment available.
  • Tinnitus treatment is not offered. Services beyond hearing aids are limited.
  • Generally do not perform cerumen (earwax) removal.

Private Hearing Center

  • Wide breadth of clinical equipment and knowledge, which allows proper diagnoses of hearing and balance to be completed.
  • Audiologists can address and treat tinnitus. They also can test children.
  • Qualified to perform cerumen (earwax) removal.

Hearing Aid Technology

Big-Box Hearing Center

  • Limited to a few manufacturers and models.
  • Does not offer CROS for single sided deafness.
  • Do not work with cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids
  • Hearing aids may be locked so only stores within the chain can adjust the hearing aids.
  • Hearing aids may not be repairable after 4-5 years.
  • Technology may not always be current.

Private Hearing Center

  • Dispenses a wide range of models across multiple manufacturers.
  • Offers CROS hearing aids and bone conduction devices.
  • Some audiologists are qualified to work with cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids.
  • Can generally have hearing aids repaired, even if they are older than 5 years.
  • Provides the most current and up to date technology.

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