A couple of years ago I went to a new optometrist to get a much needed prescription for progressive lenses. I had been procrastinating - telling myself that it just wasn’t bad enough, and that I could still read “okay”. In all honesty, the first pair of progressive lenses was not successful. The lenses were too small for an adequate field of vision. So I waited for months to finally try again. It made me think of many people who come to my office with the same thoughts about their hearing. I asked the optometrist a multitude of questions about his educational background, how long he thought my new lenses would work for me before I had to get new ones, how long it would take me to adjust to the progressive lenses, etc. He took his time with me explaining every step and educating me about the health of an eye and the natural progression of reduced focal length and need for more light. As a hearing care provider, I encounter similar questions about the ear and hearing. It is imperative that hearing care providers are educated and take time with you to answer your questions and concerns about your hearing loss, treatment options, and realistic expectations about your overall hearing. In the next few paragraphs, I will answer a couple of questions that are posed to me on a daily basis.
What is the difference between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist? In the State of Florida, all newly licensed audiologists (post 2008) must have graduated with a doctoral degree with a major emphasis in audiology and pass a demanding national competency examination. In addition to graduate school, audiologists must complete a residency or fellowship year as part of their training. In comparison, a hearing instrument specialist must complete a minimum six month hearing aid specialist training program, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass the International Licensing Examination.
As I write this, I know that my new lenses are keeping me in the game. Now, I experience change as an integral part of maturation; not a threat to who I am, or an acquiescence to self-perceived shortcomings. Change is a constant and the time is always NOW. If you are making changes to compensate for a reduction in your hearing, subtle or grand, the time is now. You monitor your vision, your blood pressure, your physical health with no second thoughts …now is the time to start monitoring your hearing. Don’t miss out on the sounds of your life.
~ Dr. Nancy Gilliom, Ph. D.