2020 Ep. 12 Time to Search

Dale Johnson:  Practicing good social distancing on The Conversation Starts Here with Dr. Sandra Miller from Complete Hearing. Every Saturday morning we talk about making sure that you hear everything that you deserve to hear. Dr. Miller and her staff have great information at complete-hearing.com. Dr. Miller, thanks for another Saturday morning. Appreciate it.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.:  Good morning. Great to be with you over our teleconference call again this week.

Dale Johnson: Practicing good social distancing, and we talked about it last week, how that can be a challenge for some with hearing devices, although you are there to help, albeit a little bit different look physically, at your office at 4200 Pioneer Woods drive in Southeast Lincoln. That’s near 70th and Pioneers.

Dale Johnson: Going into the second month of social distancing, you’ve had a lot of time, good listeners, admit it, to go onto the internet, to do some searching, to do some Googling, probably to do some eBaying for things that now you have time to do. Well, one of the things that you need to take time for, and Dr. Miller would agree with this, now that you have the time and maybe are in need of having your hearing improved or at least looked at, is to go check out healthcare providers that offer quality hearing devices. And of course Complete Hearing would be one of them, wouldn’t you agree? A good use of time would be to look up health care providers for hearing devices?

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: Yes, it’s a good use of time. Many of my patients, when they start thinking about researching hearing aids, they start searching for hearing aids, and if you just simply type in hearing aids in your Google search bar, you are going to get inundated with information, and many of my patients come in and they say, “Well, I looked at this and I looked at that, and none of it makes sense to me, and there’s so much information.” And so I think what’s really important that your listeners come away with from today is that a really good thing to start searching for is simply to search for the provider.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: So think about a chef. So if you have ingredients, and you give two chefs the same ingredients, and one chef is a really great chef, he’s going to make something wonderful and delicious, and the other chef might have something that is not as good. I’m going to compare this to one time when I was at home, I wanted to make butternut squash soup, and I made this soup and it was awful, and I walked two doors down to my neighbor Allen, and he’s a gourmet chef, and he made it into something amazing, and essentially doubled or tripled my recipe, because he knew exactly what to do with the ingredients I had started with.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: So I want your listeners to just think about, when we think about buying a hearing device, is you can buy any advice you’d like, whether it’s online, or you mentioned eBay. I hope you’re not buying hearing aids on eBay, but we can talk about that as a whole nother topic. But when you buy a device, there’s good hearing aids out there for everyone. The important thing is what’s happening when it gets into the hands of the professional who’s fitting it. So if you have a really good person, hearing healthcare provider who knows what they’re doing, you’re going to have a dramatically improved experience, but also you’re going to have a much higher rate of success.

Dale Johnson: Oh, Dr. Miller. I’m hoping that there aren’t listeners that have ordered a hearing device on eBay. It is so tempting. The prices, I’m guessing, are much, much, much less. But let’s look at the times in which we’re living right now. If I’m self-isolated and I have a problem with my hearing device, who am I going to turn to? There’s no one to turn to during a time like this.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: That’s very true. It’s funny that many offices are obviously, we are socially kind of quarantining. We talked about that, our social distancing. And so currently what’s happening at Complete Hearing, we talked about this last week, is just making sure that we are accessible to you. And so our goal is just to make sure that we are educating you still during this time. So you are currently shopping online and looking for products, I’d rather you maybe get some information, but then you need to come to us and let us educate you on what you’ve learned. Some of our patients come in and say, “Why are the hearing aids $699 and you’re charging me $1,000? What’s the difference?”

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: And so when you’re looking for a provider, I want you to look for five things. And this is pretty basic information, but I think it’s important to understand that when you work with somebody, our desire for you is that you’re working with somebody who’s committed to teaching you. Because if somebody is not committed to teaching you and committed to your success, they’re not going to be a good provider for you. I would tell you so many times my favorite words to say to my patients when they’ve made a choice to hear better, I am essentially excited, and I tell them, “I am very excited for you to take this next step,” because I know the changes it’s going to make in their life. And so I have a true commitment to not only being passionate about helping them hear well, but committed to teaching them how to have the best success they possibly can.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: And so the question might be, “Well, how am I going to know that? If I’m looking online and I’m trying to research a provider, how do I pick one?” And there’s many ways you can do this. I would tell you, we encourage our patients to share with others, and so you can read our reviews. You can ask your friends who are currently wearing devices, “What kind of experience did you have? Tell me how you felt with that person. Did you trust them? Did you feel taken care of? Were you informed?”

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: The other thing is that we are very much at Complete Hearing committed to learning, and so as doctors of audiology and committed to our profession, we spend a lot of time doing continuing education. You’ll find our providers out maybe two, three times a year, going to conferences, learning about research, learning about new products, learning how to best serve our patients, and there has to be a commitment to learning. And we offer more than one manufacturer at our practice, and that’s important because not just one single manufacturer may be best for you, and so we do offer other options. And so when you’re looking for providers, those are things you definitely need to think about.

Dale Johnson: My point in bringing up the eBay was not to encourage listeners to buy their hearing devices there, but rather to know that if you bought it in Cleveland, Ohio for $500 bucks, now what are you going to do when you need service? What are you going to do if you didn’t buy from a local, reputable business like Complete Hearing? That’s my point. That’s the takeaway.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: Yeah. My favorite thing about Complete Hearing and just our staff is that we’re committed to the details. And that means if you did buy something from Cleveland, Ohio for $599, you likely know what it is and how to program it, and how to make it work for you. So if you’ve done that, I would say one of my things my patients come in to me and say is, “I really like the provider I’ve worked with, but I’ve been back 15 times and nothing has changed.” So you may like the provider you’re working with, but if you’re not having success, that means maybe potentially that person isn’t doing well by you, and they may have a great personality, but personality and your friendship, in terms of, “I like this place but I’m not hearing well,” that’s why you have a device, and we want it to work well.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: And so ultimately we have a relationship and a trust with our patients and we want to have them to have confidence in what we do. And if you’re not having confidence in your provider, because you have to keep going back and things aren’t being remedied, we want to make sure that that’s happening for you.

Dale Johnson: Tougher to keep a relationship with the social distancing environment that we are in right now, but talk about how you have accommodated your customer in times like this.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: Absolutely. So at Complete Hearing, our goal is to continue to take care of our patients, even during this time when we’re not getting to see you walk into our lobby and greet you, and share stories, and ask about your kids, and the trip you recently took. And so we aren’t doing that as much anymore. The three ways we’re still connecting with you is if you are having an issue, we are answering our phones. So our phones are still active and live during this time. Kim is our patient care coordinator and she’ll take care of you, and anything you might need that you need to speak to me about, I will call you or telehealth you and we can go through anything you might need. And this is not just for our patients. It’s for anyone out there needing this hearing help. That’s why we are here.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: Second thing is we have a dropbox right at our front door. So if you’re needing something that’s broken that can’t be fixed, and your audiologist is not open, and this doesn’t apply to people in Lincoln, this applies to all of your listeners. If you ship it to us, we will take care of it and ship it back to you.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: And the third thing is making sure that our supplies are getting out, and that people who need batteries or they’re needing supplies, that we’re able to get those to you as effectively as we possibly can.

Dale Johnson: Do hearing devices require maintenance checkups? And the reason I bring that up, Dr. Miller, is because if someone is at home self-isolating, they’re not at work, they don’t use their hearing aids in a social setting these days, maybe now would be a good time to have it maintained.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: Absolutely. What you’re going to see upcoming for us is we’re just going to be posting videos onto our website that are just going to say, “How do I take care of my hearing aid now that I’m at home and I can’t get to you very easily.” Many of our patients are very well adept at cleaning their devices or changing the supplies that they need, but many don’t, whether it’s because of vision or it’s because of dexterity, or it’s because currently their significant others can’t come see them because we are in this social distancing stage of the coronavirus. So if we can get access to them somehow, whether it’s via their computer or whether it’s a nurse, whether it’s someone else in their life who can help them, or we can help them directly, those are our goals, just them still being accessible to us.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D.: I have a patient who I did some telehealth with last Friday, and we just simply … Telehealth, we got on the phone and we got to see each other, and we just went through all the different steps of what she was having difficulty with, because she was at home being self-quarantined. And just having that ability to not only connect with her but solve her problem was an amazing experience, and it just made me feel so much more reassured that we’re taking care of our people.

Dale Johnson: Guaranteed service at Complete Hearing. Every Saturday morning we focus on The Conversation Starts Here with Dr. Sandra Miller of Complete Hearing. Go to complete-hearing.com, and whether it’s six feet away in a studio, or at home, or across the country, The Conversation Starts Here with Complete Hearing. I’m Dale Johnson.