I’ve had to reconsider this question because I’ve decided to open an office in June 2015 to complement the mobile feature of my practice. So how will I stand out from other providers? There is a clear contrast between an audiologist and those who simply hold a hearing aid dispensing license: education. The audiologist can provide a higher level of care which rests on the foundation of an extensive, graduate level education.
How can I differentiate myself from other audiologists? This is harder. Many audiologists now have the AuD degree. I’ve struggled with how much additional value an AuD has over a Masters. I watched a fellow audiologist go through a distance education to get his AuD. He was already providing a high level of care by virtue of his Masters degree, and though he started using more medical terms in his reports, the AuD did not seem to make any significant difference in the day to day process of helping people hear better.
AuD programs now have courses in business management and more detailed training on the specialized aspects of audiology, such as intra-operative monitoring. All I want to do is help people hear better, using the best processes and technology available. The Masters degree, professional journals, continuing education, and consultation with other audiologists help me do that. I’ve visited the University of North Carolina twice in recent years for education and consultation regarding the best audiology processes.
One of the most important differences between me and other audiologists is something an AuD does not provide: a comprehensive electronics education, courtesy of the US Navy. They taught me how to interpret spectrum displays many years ago. A spectrum display is what an audiologist uses to see the results of precise, in-the-ear measurements of hearing aid performance. This is the most important measurement an audiologist does during the hearing aid fitting process, and it has much to do with how successful you’ll be as a hearing aid user. Consumer Reports, in their June 2009 article on hearing aids, said this measurement is a “must have.”
Something else I’ll offer is the convenience of an office appointment or a home visit, with office hours that include Saturday. I’ll post an address and a date for the grand opening as we get closer to June.