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As healthcare changes and people spend more time going to WalMart, Walgreens, and other big box stores for medical services, the care received, equipment distributed, and overall cost effectiveness of some services is changing, too – and not for the better. Ear care, eye care, influenza vaccinations, and other services offered by big box stores just cannot compare to those services offered by professionals. This is especially true of the services of a professional audiologist.


An audiologist has studied the inner workings of the human ear, a WalMart associate has not. Simply reading a few pages of some employment “Standard Operating Procedures” manual and taking a computer based learning (CBL) module does not make one an expert on the human ear. When a person has a hearing problem, it can actually be one of dozens or tens of dozens of problems, not just one problem. A person doesn’t need a hearing aid to fix one problem – a hearing aid can fix, correct, or help out with many problems. But only a professional audiologist knows which problems, and can diagnose the particular problem of the sufferer.


Big box stores want to offer their customers (not clients) products that work, cost little, and will make the biggest profit for the store. They offer cheap hearing aids to those who have hearing problems. Their battery choices are few and also cheap – not working very long, at all. The number of product lines they have access to are low.
A professional audiologist, on the other hand, has access to a large variety of devices and accessories that can be tailored to each client individually. A hearing aid that helps those with a hammer-anvil-stirrup problem is different than one that helps with a cochlear issue. A professional audiologist knows this and can provide a hearing aid not just made for the situation, but that can be fitted comfortably to the wearer.


Like above, the big box stores offer merchandise that is cheap. This merchandise is made for them to make money, not for the customer to save money. And they have to replace the batteries more often; the product itself, too. When you use a professional audiologist, you find that your hearing aid is covered by your insurance, and so is its replacement. Batteries may even be covered, something you cannot say with the big box stores. Costco cannot work with your insurance company, but a professional audiologist can, and does.
Although the initial cost of your hearing aid may be higher with an audiologist, the overall cost in the long run is actually less to the client.