So, you (or a relative) have decided to get a hearing test and possibly even purchase a hearing aid. For many, the world of hearing loss is new and information is either scarce, or conflicting. Unfortunately, regulation both in Malta and internationally has left a loophole for people to take advantage of people with hearing loss. There are many offering hearing services without proper licencing or offering devices that are not really hearing aids (more on that in a later post!). Enter the audiologist.
Audiologists are highly trained health professionals specialised in hearing care and balance issues. The standards in Malta are very high, with many of the registered audiologists having Masters and Doctoral degrees. We are also required to be registered with the Council for Professions Complementary to Medicine (CPCM). Being registered professionals, audiologists also need to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and rigorous practice standards.
What does this mean to you? So, here goes:
1) Going to an audiologist means that you are getting the best hearing care possible;
2) An audiologist will know the various treatment options available and not just sell you a hearing aid;
3) An audiologist has been trained to recognise certain health conditions and will refer you to the help you need when necessary;
4) Audiologists can be professionally liable for mistakes, so it is in their best interest to give you the highest of care;
5) Many audiologists have a robust hearing aid supply, so they can be responsible for your care long term;
6) Audiologists work with recognised hearing aid brands and provide appropriate medical devices for hearing loss;
7) Audiologists can also endorse government hearing aid funding and paperwork related to hearing loss benefits.
So essentially, going to an audiologist means that you are protecting yourself (or your relatives) and getting the best hearing care currently available. Audiologists will give you the best chance of achieving your goals and obtaining the best possible results.
But the next question you might have is, how do I know who is a registered audiologist? The first way of checking is by accessing the list of registered audiologists on the CPCM register (see here). You also have the right to ask the service provider. Ask directly whether the audiologist is registered in Malta. Registration abroad does not offer you any local protection since the registration does not mean anything locally.
If in doubt, you can also contact the Malta Association of Audiologists which is the professional body for registered Audiologists locally (https://www.facebook.com/maaaudiologists).