January 1, 2012
We hope all our patients, clients and website visitors had a wonderful holiday season! We look forward to another great year here and Clear Choice Hearing and Balance! There are many exciting developments we are looking forward to.
We are pleased to be continuing to offer our services periodically at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center in Rochester. Please see www.sjncenter.org for more information on this valuable community resource for uninsured or underinsured Rochesterians.
Please read the following announcement:
In 2011 the health insurance carrier United Healthcare Group announced it would soon make “hearing devices” available to its members directly. Members are offered an online test and one of only two available devices is chosen for, not by, the consumer. It must first be noted that these are not true programmable hearing aids but “personal sound amplification products”, and this testing is not a true diagnostic evaluation conducted by a licenced professional in a sound-shielded room in an ear-specific manner. Marketing materials use phrases such as “eliminates the middleman”, which is not only insulting to any legitimate hearing healthcare provider, but is factually incorrect. In New York State a true hearing aid is a medical device and must be dispensed by a fully licensed audiologist or dispenser, a credentialed and experienced professional. A hearing aid dispenser fitting a hearing aid and providing the necessary rehabilitative counseling and continuing follow-up care is no more of a “middleman” than a dentist fitting a bridge or an optician measuring and fitting prescription eyeglasses. The devices are regarded as the sole method of therapy, which, again, is contrary to evidence-based best practice guidelines of hearing healthcare professionals.
This move by United Healthcare is being met with justifiable resistance by virtually all professional organizations of audiology and heairng aid dispensing. We at Clear Choice Hearing and Balance take immense pride in our experience and expertise, and we urge all patients and potential patients to consider this information when weighing such options. Hearing instruments are not appliances, they are custom-selected medical devices. Please allow the professionals to guide you in your journey for better hearing and quality of life.