Unlocking Relief: Navigating the Search for a Tinnitus Treatment Specialist
Why is this important? Afterall, according to the internet, you might be able to just take a magic pill, stand on your head for 3 minutes, or press warm bread up against your ears. Or you can find a medical professional to use evidence-based science to effectively reduce your tinnitus.
For accurate information on the treatment of tinnitus, please stop by and visit us at www.excellenceinaudiology.org.
What are some good clues to select a great hearing healthcare practitioner to treat your tinnitus?
We have two: One, she/he is busy. Two, her/his practice is busy.
When you see a really, really, busy practice there are probably a whole lot of patient referrals. Let’s face it - nobody enthusiastically refers if they feel they were lied to or treated badly, sold something they did not need, and put their prescription technology in their underwear draw.
Our offices are very busy. While we do some minimal marketing, most of our patients find us through word of mouth and direct referrals from their physicians. Our practices throughout the international Excellence In Audiology network are built on ethics and earned trust.
The other clue: the treatment for your tinnitus is not cheap.
The fees for our tinnitus treatment program are calculated to allow for “Cadillac + Care” in every respect. From the detailed 7-Step Cognitive Screening and Diagnostic Process to the proven tinnitus treatment program we have developed, we will never compromise on your treatment.
If we were you, we would worry if we could find a specialist that is a lot cheaper anywhere else. If you do find one, know this: behind closed doors they are probably asking, “can we do this cheaper?”. Is that the question you want discussed by your care team at every step of your treatment process?
There is both a science and art to treating tinnitus. Our healthcare team of specialists are all highly trained to produce state-of-the-art outcomes, nothing less. The specialist truly makes a difference.
The Top Ten Things You Should Know Before Choosing Who Will Treat Your Tinnitus.
This is something you want to be sure about. We have just suggested one big consideration: a highly successful practice. Here are ten more:
- Are they specialists?
- Tools have never created the skill. They’re simply a conduit teamed with education, talent, experience, and knowledge. The tools used to treat tinnitus have never made the specialist, but when the best tools are in the hands of the best specialists, magic happens.
- All hearing healthcare specialists that treat tinnitus should be licensed by the state in which they practice, but not all hearing specialists have taken the next step to become members of the Excellence In Audiology™ network. And very few specialists outside of this network are Certified Tinnitus Specialists.
- To be a part of this network, a hearing healthcare specialist must be thoroughly trained and tested to demonstrate their knowledge of the auditory system, clinical skills, and judgment. In addition to finding a local Excellence In Audiology™ specialist, you might consider a specialist who understands the hearing and brain connection as ‘treating hearing loss’ was recently named the single most modiﬁable risk factor for the prevention of the mind-robbing disease of dementia.
- Signs of a specialist:
- Excellence In Audiology Member
- Certified Dementia Practitioner
- Certified Tinnitus Specialist
- Incorporates Cognitive Screenings into Testing Protocols
- Offers Comprehensive Hearing and Cognitive Treatment Programs, Not Just Traditional Hearing Aids
- Treatment Programs Include Ongoing Brain Training Exercises
- Treatment Technology Is Updated Over Time, Without Additional Fees!
- Do they have a medical office (or a sales office)?
- For years, the profession of hearing healthcare and audiology has received a bad reputation for its focus on the sale of traditional hearing aids by former used-car salesmen. In the audiology world it is not hard to open a shop on a shoestring budget and call yourself a ‘hearing aid specialist’.
- When determining your family’s next tinnitus and hearing healthcare specialist, we recommend you understand the treatment philosophy and purpose of the founder or specialist. Take the time to research his/her office, treatment team, website, location, and online testimonials and reviews. During your research, be on the lookout for a stand-alone location or a medical setting that was founded many years ago and has helped thousands of individuals in your community.
- Medical-based offices will focus on the signs and symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus, the detrimental impact of untreated and undertreated health conditions. You will notice that medical-based offices include many free reports, books, videos, and educational opportunities to learn more about you or a loved ones’ condition. Remember, the educated patient is the best patient.
- Do they think brain health first?
- It might seem strange and go against everything you were taught in pre-school, but we don’t ‘hear’ with our ears. The ears are just a receptor of sound, which is then transferred to our auditory nerve, and finally into our brain, where the speech understanding and cognitive process of deciphering sounds into words takes place. And the brain is where your tinnitus is.
- Dr. Keith Darrow, as a neuroscientist who has worked in the lab for over a decade and seen up close how the system works, states that this comes naturally to him, but to many hearing specialists without formal training or membership in a community like the Excellence In Audiology network, it is often overlooked.
- While words like dementia, cognitive decline, cognitive overload, progressive degenerative disorders, and auditory system damage might seem scary, rest assured a hearing specialist and his/her team who thinks ‘Brain Health First’ will undoubtedly be using these words when discussing your hearing and tinnitus symptoms with you. If your specialist is not using these words, or is focused on things like lifestyle charts, Bluetooth, rechargeable batteries and TV adapters, you will know they are thinking ‘hearing aids first’ and not ‘Brain Health First’.
- Some Questions to Ask Before You Commit:
- What cognitive screening protocols do you use in your ofﬁce?
- Answers should include: “Cognivue,” “Word Recognition Testing,” and “Speech in Noise Testing.”
- Does your tinnitus treatment plan include new prescriptive treatment technology?
- Answers should include HECK YES! We only use the best, most up-to-date proven prescriptive technology to treat tinnitus and hearing loss.
- What cognitive screening protocols do you use in your ofﬁce?
- By the way, if you hear words like ‘test-drive’ or ‘demo’ or ‘we can talk about options to treat your tinnitus when you come in’… RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
- Do they provide pre-appointment education?
- Most traditional hearing aid sales offices will be in a hurry to get you right in for a “FREE Hearing Test”. This is so they have the first chance to ‘sell’ you on their traditional hearing aid.
- Our recommendation is to find a medical-based office that specializes in the medical treatment of tinnitus, hearing loss and associated cognitive decline. Period.
- Some items we recommend requesting prior to your appointment:
- seven to fourteen-day delay before your appointment to review all materials sent to you
- a book or publication by the practice owner or founder
- any online presentations or educational materials available
- a detailed account of what is included in their comprehensive treatment program
- the cost of their all-inclusive monthly treatment plan
- what to expect during your first appointment.
- It won’t take you long to differentiate which office is focused on providing you with education and conversation as opposed to those looking to get you in as soon as possible.
- Do they offer guarantees? If so, what are they?
- No matter where you decide to treat your tinnitus, ultimately you are beginning a relationship with them; a relationship based upon a significant investment of both time and money to solve you or a loved ones’ tinnitus and hearing loss problem. As with any relationship, it should be based upon trust and a guarantee that you will experience the expected outcome you are looking for.
- The most common attempt at a guarantee in the ﬁeld of hearing healthcare and audiology is a “traditional hearing aid return period.” This is NOT a guarantee, this is a law required by every hearing healthcare specialist who is selling a traditional hearing aid widget.
- When we speak of a ‘guarantee’, we are referring to the commitment of the founder or owner, or hearing healthcare specialist you choose.
- Do they guarantee your ability to hear will be restored to its full potential?
- Do they guarantee if you are unhappy at any point during the adaptation period you will part ways as friends and not spend a single penny for treatment received so far?
- Do they guarantee your hearing and tinnitus treatment is fully covered with no additional fees during your treatment program?
- Do they guarantee that if at any time during your four-year treatment plan if your hearing loss or tinnitus progressives severely enough that it requires a new prescription you will get that new prescription without increased monthly fees?
- Do they guarantee that your monthly cost of treatment will never increase due to rising costs or inﬂation?
- Now those are guarantees!
- Are they using science-based testing and prescriptive treatment technology?
- The diagnosis of tinnitus differs a great deal from years past. With the evolution of computer-designed technologies, hearing specialists with the proper equipment will be able to diagnose, treat, and improve your experience with tinnitus, your hearing, and your cognitive functions more accurately.
- Modern technologies that should be used by a hearing specialist include:
- Speech in Noise Testing to determine your ability to hear in noise.
- Cognitive Screening with Cognivue Equipment
- New prescriptive treatment technology that has artificial intelligence which focuses on restoring stimulation to the auditory system; improving hearing and reducing tinnitus.
- Pre-and post-treatment testing to prove your results both in the testing booth and in background noise.
- Audioscan Verﬁt2 Real-Ear Measurements to objectively measure the beneﬁt of your new treatment.
- Live-Speech Mapping to verify you are hearing all parts of the spoken language.
- BrainHQ Brain Training Program for ongoing memory and processing speed improvements.
- Do they offer a comprehensive treatment membership?
- Long gone are the days of spending thousands of dollars up front to treat tinnitus with traditional hearing aids; just don’t do it!
- Tinnitus and hearing loss are the third most common chronic conditions affecting seniors in our communities. Like any major medical condition, the treatment of tinnitus, hearing loss, and the associated cognitive impacts are not a one-and-done purchase of a sound generator, but rather an ongoing monthly medical treatment. When you are searching for a hearing healthcare specialist to treat your tinnitus, we recommend you find one who has a monthly treatment program or membership that allows you to begin treatment without investing thousands of dollars on day one.
- An all-inclusive tinnitus treatment membership should consist of everything you need to properly treat your hearing and tinnitus, including:
- your prescribed hearing technology
- any supplies, accessories, or batteries you’ll need
- coverage for loss or damage at a low deductible
- all your office visits and annual evaluations
- yearly cognitive/dementia risk screenings
- and other various benefits:
- early access to events
- birthday gifts
- special new release education materials
- A price lock guarantee so you don’t have to worry about price increases in the future.
- Do you get a direct phone number for 24/7 support or questions?
- Tinnitus is something that can plague you 24/7, and so you should have access to your treatment team via a 24/7 support line.
- Each time a patient embarks on the journey of reducing their tinnitus and improving hearing, there is an adaptation period for the patient. This period can take up to 60 days (perhaps longer for the most difficult cases of tinnitus) and is unique to each patient. Whether you or your loved one have a simple question, or need reassurance, your hearing healthcare specialist should give you a direct number to a patient experience coordinator just in case.
- In addition to the complex hearing and cognitive changes that will happen as we begin restoring the stimulation to your auditory system, there can be moments of minor irritation or discomfort like wearing a new pair of shoes or prescription eyeglasses. Whatever question or concern you have, don’t hesitate to ask!
- A medical-based hearing healthcare specialist will provide you with the means for direct support, as well as an established new treatment plan consisting of three to four appointments during the first 45-60 days of treatment. You should plan to visit your specialist four times per year for ongoing maintenance, re-evaluations, and prescription updates in addition to any fun or interactive patient events they may offer.
- Remember, you should not have to pay additional fees or costs for this direct phone number, visits, patient events or ongoing hearing healthcare. It should be included in your comprehensive monthly treatment plan.
- Do they make you feel special and comfortable?
- Regardless of whether you are reading this report for your own tinnitus, for a spouse, or another family member, you are the most important part of the healthcare practice.
- The best hearing healthcare specialists, practices, and teams would be wise to remember that without the patient, they would not have careers. As Dr. Darrow has traveled the country speaking, educating, and working with private practices, he continues to teach based upon the principles of Disney Magic, the Ritz Carlton Gold Standard, and the empathy found at the Cleveland Clinic.
- When you walk into your new hearing healthcare specialist’s ofﬁce, you should be made to feel comfortable and welcome. Empathy, compassion, and understanding is very important to the healing process.
- Here are some things we recommend you should receive:
- pre-appointment information
- welcome gift
- a great look, feel, and smell to the ofﬁce
- a big thank you
- treat or drink
- walked to your treatment room
- They should get to know you - the person.
- understand your symptoms and desired outcome
- a fond farewell to return.
- If you’d like the feedback of others prior to booking an appointment, try visiting their online views or video testimonials to learn more about what to expect at your appointment.
- Do they have a great reputation?
- “Trust; But Verify!”
- When it comes to choosing a tinnitus specialist, we prefer no other phrase.
- With the internet today, it is extremely easy to pull up ratings, reviews, and testimonials from other patients. Simply go to Google, Facebook, HealthyHearing, or Yelp and search for audiology reviews in your town. We would recommend choosing the hearing healthcare specialist with the most reviews at the highest rating. This gives us comfort in knowing that they are busy enough to get the most reviews, and great enough to earn that high 5-star reputation.
- At the time of writing this report, every Excellence In Audiology member-clinic has the most 5-Star reviews in their city. No other network of hearing healthcare specialists even comes close to this number of reviews.
- In addition, with the growth of YouTube, many practices now have a YouTube channel full of real-life patients on video giving their own personal testimonials about the hearing healthcare specialists and office. So, remember, trust that your research has fulfilled the first nine questions of this report, but don’t hesitate to verify with real patient review, testimonials, and references.
- And never be shy about asking for references- and go directly to the source! You have the right to call any hearing healthcare specialist and ask for a list of references who may be patients and/or local physicians who have volunteered to help advise other patients as they ﬁrst enter the world of hearing loss and tinnitus treatment.
- Okay, we know we said the list was only ten, but this last one is really important to consider!
- Will they make treatment affordable for us?
- We realize that we were only supposed to list the ‘The Top Ten Things You Should Know Before Choosing Who Will Treat Your Tinnitus’, but we couldn’t leave out some tips on making sure your choice of hearing healthcare specialist never allows a treatment decision to become a financial decision.
- Once you are comfortable knowing the answers to the Top-10 questions and have chosen a hearing healthcare specialist to treat you, your spouse, or your loved one, the next question is typically:
- “Is this comprehensive treatment plan affordable?”
- When it comes to affordability, there was no greater pain in our years as clinicians than having to turn a patient away due to their financial situation. Thankfully our new treatment membership programs allow us to treat nearly every patient by reducing costs to a low, monthly, affordable payment. Your local Excellence In Audiology™ member-clinic will always offer an affordable membership plan to ensure that you don’t have to make a treatment decision, or possibly compromise treatment, because of finances.
- Beneﬁts of Membership Based Hearing Healthcare:
- avoid the large upfront cost
- low monthly membership plans for the medical treatment of tinnitus and hearing loss
- all-inclusive coverage for your hearing and tinnitus treatment needs
- price lock guarantee so your treatment costs won’t increase over time
- No patient is denied the care they need due to bad credit/no credit.
And remember, treating your hearing loss is the #1 way to help to treat your tinnitus. Please learn more at www.excellenceinaudiology.org.