Volume #6 - June 2019
Audiology Resources
Monthly News & Updates

This month I am all about opportunities! Audiology has SO MANY opportunities available! We just have to THINK AUDIOLOGY!

First, there are many job opportunities available throughout the US. While Audiology Online, the ASHA Career Center, and AAA's HearCareers have traditionally been the "go to"spot for job listings, many audiologists have grown frustrated by the "Audiologist or Dispenser" ads and thr cost, with little return. Several months ago, I created a Facebook group called Audiology Job Opportunities . This is an audiologist only group and open AUDIOLOGY positions are posted there daily. Also, job seekers can also post if they are looking for a specific position or location. This group has almost 1800 members and is complete free to use! Just ask to join!

Also, Think Audiology has had a great launch! Thanks to all of you out there who support our mission. We are posting new targeted ads/images on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram and in our Ascending Audiologists/Think Audiology Dropbox and updating our website content every week. Its exciting! Again, access to this campaign and our marketing materials is completely free of charge! We encourage folks to use and share the images across both their personal and professional social media platforms! I get more shares from family and friends than I do from industry folks! This helps spread the word, across all of our circles of influence, about audiology!

Finally, Audiology Resources offers training on how to monetize and operationalize new products and services into your practices, as well as step by step guidance on unbundling. We can help you turn opportunities into realities. If you want to learn more, go to the Training Events section of our website or hire Audiology Resources to create a pricing and delivery model for your practice.

Like Winston Churchill once said, "A Pessimist Sees The Difficulty In Every Opportunity; An Optimist Sees The Opportunity In Every Difficulty." I am an optimist when it comes to our profession. I hope you are too!


Monthly Coding and Reimbursement Tips
Hearing Aid Verification Coding

Verification, including real-ear measurement, live speech mapping, and functional gain testing has a code. The code is V5020. This code is covered by many third-party payers who also cover amplification.

Occasionally, in other third-party cases, this can be charged and paid separately by the patient (as it is not included in the inclusive benefit or dispensing fee).

Research Spotlight

I am going to kick it old school this month and share with you a few works that greatly influenced me, my opinions and my work. These articles surround the hearing aid examination/selection or hearing aid consultations visit. For me, this is the first step in 1) showing our professional capacities and proficiencies, 2) illustrating our value, and 3) differentiating ourselves from our competitors and disruptive entities. Implementation of these ideas, if we choose to accept this mission, could change everything! Here is the "best of the best" on communication needs assessments:

Opportunities Abound for Audiology
I am truly sorry if I sound like a broken record, but this is too important to not discuss one last time! I hear fear and hopelessness from audiologists everyday and I want to offer a light at the end of our professional tunnel! There is a path forward! We just have to take it!

Over the past three decades, hearing aid dispensing has been a lucrative business for many, despite the fairly unchanged adoption rate and sometimes less than ideal standard of care being provided. As a result, the hearing aid delivery and pricing model is ripe for disruption and change. This is forcing a significant change in the hearing aid market due to changing consumer needs, desires and demands, technology, big box and direct to consumer retailers, and shifts in managed care.

Despite ALL of this, I see a great deal of opportunity in this new amplification marketplace. Consumers are in search of improved access to services and care, transparency, different cost, product and delivery options, and access to care and services not available through disruptive means. This translates to offering, on the device side of your practice:

  • Home care/concierge services.
  • Telepractice, as allowed by state law.
  • Hours outside of 8-5.
  • Communication Needs Assessments.
  • Verification.
  • Speech in noise testing.
  • Pre and post fitting inventories.
  • Counseling and aural rehabilitation.
  • Itemization.
  • Unbundled hearing aid delivery, with optional long-term care.
  • PSAPs.
  • OTC products.
  • ALDs.
  • Cerumen management.
  • Subscription products.

As many of you know, the practice of audiology is much more than amplification. We have significant, unrivaled training and background in diagnostic audiology, vestibular evaluation and treatment, tinnitus, misophonia, hyperacusis, cerumen management, implantable devices, auditory processing, hearing loss prevention and protection and aural rehabilitation. Almost every one of these services is within the scope of practice of every audiologist in the United States. Yet, despite this, many audiology practices have built their practices and identities predominantly around hearing aids. We can change that! This means offering:
  • Concierge services.
  • Hours outside of 8-5.
  • Telepractice, as allowed by state law.
  • Screenings, as allowed by state law, related to communication, depression, cognition, processing, pain, blood pressure, falls risk, tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Medication review related to ototoxicity.
  • Evaluating the audio-vestibular system surrounding co-morbidities like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Vestibular evaluation and management.
  • Auditory processing evaluation and management.
  • Tinnitus, hyperacusis, and/or misophonia Evaluation and Management beyond traditional amplification.
  • Hearing conservation and hearing protection.
  • Implantable evaluation and management.
  • Aural rehabilitation outside of amplification.

And, again, despite the naysayers, these services can be monetized, both through payment from third-party insurers and from the patients themselves. Consumers and patients want and need access to items and services that 1) they cannot get from other providers or through disruptive means, 2) that are evidence based, 3) that are transparently priced, and 4) that meet their expectation, solve their situation, or produce positive outcomes and satisfaction. Many patients are able and willing to pay for this care. I teach audiologists to implement these services and procedures into their practices and I see it happening in practices across the county every day with great success. We can be more than the someone else’s widget.

The common thread though is that it will require a new mindset and force audiologists to think and practice well beyond the product. I KNOW we can do it and succeed and thrive as a profession. So many opportunities are in front of us! But will we grasp them before it is too late?