Avoid costly mistakes when you purchase hearing aids
On October 5 this year, the ABC’s 7:30 report televised a news item on the audiology industry in Australia (click here to see program). The program highlighted a number of issues within the audiology industry including hearing checks being performed by unqualified persons and kickbacks to audiologists.
Read more on how to avoid costly mistakes and what Melbourne Audiology Centre's audiologist Katherine Fournaris (pictured) has to say about it. “The biggest thing for me is that we offer services from very qualified clinicians with extensive experience. We are not a large “chain”, says Katherine Fournaris Audiologist.
Audiology in Australia is an unregulated industry. There are predominantly 2 types of clinicians accredited to provide hearing aid fittings and associated services under the Governments Office of Hearing Services Program (OHS) that provides hearing aids and services to pensioners and veterans:
- Audiologists who have as a minimum a Master of Clinical Audiology degree from a University. They have the professional skills needed to apply relevant knowledge to a range of audiological cases including diagnostic assessments, hearing aid fitting,aural rehabilitation to adults and children, cochlear implants, balance and vertigo diagnostic testing, auditory processing testing and tinnitus assessment and treatment
- Hearing aid audiometrists who undergo a vocational program at TAFE. They are trained in the technical skills to enable them to test hearing and fit hearing aids. They will liaise with audiologists in the diagnosis of more complex cases.
The 7:30 report also drew attention to the fact that hundreds of hearing centres nationally are owned by hearing aid manufacturers that offer their own brand of hearing aids. They also commented on the use of slick advertising campaigns to get people in, followed by high pressure sales tactics to sell hearing aids. In addition, hefty commissions on hearing aid sales, provide big incentives for audiologists to sell.
Katherine Fournaris (audiologist) says, “We provide a range of hearing aid options from various manufacturers not only for private clients but also for OHS clients. A lot of these big companies tend to offer aids from only one manufacturer, especially for OHS clients. Sometimes an aid from another manufacturer will suit the client’s needs better. I absolutely love having that freedom and meeting the client’s comfort and hearing needs as best as possible. We are not pushy. We provide advice that meets the client’s needs without pressure and we don't need to reach any sales targets!!”
We would like to emphasize that Melbourne Audiology Centre is privately owned. Our qualified audiologists can offer the latest hearing devices from any of the leading hearing aid manufacturers giving you a choice of hearing aid solutions. You can be assured our team of audiologists are completely focused on how to best meet your hearing and communication needs. Our audiologists do not receive commissions on hearing aid sales. We believe in helping people with hearing loss to enjoy life and we do this by improving your hearing and consequently your ability to communicate, participate and engage with others.