At Ear Works Audiology all our licensed audiologists are doctors of audiology and all are Medicare providers. The scope of practice of an audiologist includes the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals with auditory and balance disorders. Only after the type of hearing loss is identified and the diagnosis is made can a treatment be recommended. All hearing losses are not treatable by hearing aids. Some hearing losses need to be treated medically by a physician. If there are no medical contraindications to wearing hearing devices an audiologist can evaluate and fit the appropriate devices, including assistive listening devices.
A hearing screening is a pass/fail test that only identifies if a hearing loss is present. A comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluation identifies the degree of hearing loss if any as well as the type of hearing loss. This is the only hearing test that can determine what treatment option should be recommended. Medicare guidelines do not allow any audiologist to perform a comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluation for free.
Many audiologists perform hearing tests for the sole purpose of fitting a hearing aid. They do not perform comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations to determine what the cause of the hearing loss is and if it can be medically treated. Many audiologists may not be providers of Medicare and do not have to follow Medicare guidelines and therefore can offer free hearing tests. Again reason is, the hearing test is only being performed for the sole purpose of fitting a hearing aid.
At Ear Works, we believe that each patient should have a comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluation in order to assess if a hearing loss is present and to determine what treatment is needed if a hearing loss is found. This evaluation is not free and is billed through insurance. This test is covered by most insurance plans and individuals may be responsible for only a copay or deductible.
Hearing loss is a chronic medical condition that can be a red flag for more serious medical diseases and can lead to many medical and social problems such as depression, cognitive decline, heart disease, social isolation, etc. Therefore, the comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluation is an important assessment to one’s overall health and well-being.
Every patient has the right to be the decision-maker in their own health care. At Ear Works, we believe it is important to educate our patients in the difference between a free hearing screening and a comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluation that is a billable service.