More than 48 million Americans have hearing loss. These are the individuals who blare their TVs, ask others to repeat themselves and sometimes have trouble understanding their grandkids.

As more of the American population gets older, hearing loss can become more prevalent, pushing more individuals to make contact with a hearing healthcare professional, such as an audiologist.

If you’re one of those 48 million Americans and you’ve never been to a hearing healthcare professional, it’s perfectly normal to find it daunting to pick up the phone and set an appointment.

Searching for an audiologist

The best way to initiate searching for an audiologist is to have confidence knowing your hearing loss can be diagnosed and helped. To choose an audiologist, consider these suggestions during your quest.

  • Primary care physician: Seek out the advice and recommendations of a hearing healthcare professional from your primary care physician. Many audiologists rely on referrals to gain new clients and, as such, have great relationships with doctors. You can also consider asking friends or family members who have a relationship with an audiologist for their suggestions. People close to you often provide the most accurate review, telling you whether or not the service and care provided was adequate.
  • Insurance provider: While most hearing aids aren’t covered by insurance, visits to audiologists sometimes are. As such, considering asking your insurance provider for a referral or to see who they cover. After all, going through your insurance company will likely provide you a list of providers who are covered. While the list could provide a smaller number of available audiologists, you could potentially save more money in the long run by choosing an audiologist recommended by your insurance provider.
  • Internet: You can also locate an audiologist in your area by doing a simple internet search. Things to consider when looking at an audiologist’s website include: services provided, distance to home or work, the experience of staff, up-to-date content and any reviews.

Audiologist considerations

When choosing an audiologist, consider how long the business has been, well, in business. While a brand new audiologist will likely have more availability, it can often be difficult to establish a reputation or understanding of the audiologist’s practice, protocols and beliefs. On the flip side, an audiologist who has practiced for 20 or 30 years will have a reputation — good or bad — that a new patient can turn to for advice.

It is also important to consider the distance of a practice from your home. Depending on your location, you might not have many audiologists readily available for service. While the best audiologist might be more than an hour away, it is important to consider the services you’ll need from your provider. For example, should your devices stop working, need cleaning or you have trouble figuring out how to use your hearing aid, it’ll be unlikely that you’ll want to drive a long distance to seek help.