Know Your Options

Dale Johnson: It used to be a scam depended on heaping sweetness upon a potential victim, softening them up, so to speak. Not anymore. Scams now are based on fear. We are living right now in a fearful environment. So we’re going down that path today with Dr. Sandra Miller from Complete Hearing. If you would like to hear this conversation again if you missed something, take some time to go to There you will catch up with podcasts, you’ll have a wealth of information there to learn more about what’s going on at Complete Hearing. Dr. Miller, good morning.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Good morning, Dale.

Dale Johnson: Dr. Miller, you have made modifications to accommodate your patients at Complete Hearing. Update people on the adjustments made at Complete Hearing.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Absolutely. So I think a couple of things, I want to mimic just what we’re doing in regards to what the state is doing. And we are doing things slowly. And so as we open our clinic back up, it’s been a slow process. And honestly, we evaluate this every single week. And that just simply means we take a look at the CDC, the World Health Organization, what’s happening in our state and we make judgements based on that. So currently, what we have going on is if you just want to check out our page. There’s a whole video of your experience when you come to Complete Hearing. Currently what’s going to happen is our lobby remains close, but does that mean we’re not there to serve you. We are open inside. We’re just… If you drive up to the front door and call us, we’re going to come out and take care of you from top to bottom.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: So we are seeing patients in the clinic, the appointments are spaced out so you won’t see a lot of other patients when you’re in the clinic, and that is on purpose. Sanitizing, wearing masks, using face shields, things like that, those are all still in place. And as we slowly open, we do a COVID update on our website once a week, and so that’s a great place to check out to see what’s going on with us. So yes, opening up, but just very slowly.

Dale Johnson: Our personalities are such that we investigate before we invest. A lot of people are watching television right now and they have the time to go to social media more too. And they might be a little more susceptible to a scam and frauds that are out there. How does that apply to hearing Dr. Miller?

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: I think it’s such a wonderful topic to talk about because you and I had just talked briefly before the show today that we’re in a situation now where everything’s being driven by fear. And that’s a scary thing to me when I think about, you and I are researchers, we’re going to go out and take a look and see, is that true? Or we’re going to look to see… We’re going to research it a little bit, and not everybody has that capability or knows what the resources are. So I think a couple of things that are happening just on the hearing side of it is I just want your listeners and our patients just to be conscious of the fact that when you see things that are advertised that sound too good to be true, they usually are. If there’s a fear of, “We only have this available to you for the next three days,” or, “There’s only 13 people that can qualify for this,” those typically are not true.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: And currently we have some companies that are even locally doing this that are saying, “We’ve been awarded some grant money,” making it sound like it’s coming because of the COVID, “And we can now give you money off of your hearing devices.” So I always go, well, is that true? Because I want to know where the grant money came from. I always say, “Is it true?” Is what I’m always asking myself. So when it comes to something where they’re trying to get you into the door and it’s a little bit of timing or fear, or it’s limited, ask yourself, “Is that true?” Because I think that we can… I love what you said at the beginning of the show, “We were reacting on fear instead of fact.”

Dale Johnson: People are watching more television these days, as I mentioned, they’re online, more self-isolation. People have the time to do it.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Yeah, my husband always teases me when something on the TV and I go, “Oh man, I’m calling that number. I need to get that.” He just looks at me and shake my head. He goes, “Sandra,” and I said, “I know.” I do it to be funny because sometimes I think what we see sounds so enticing and it sounds almost too good to be true. So when you see things on the television, what I was typically saying, is, “You can get this same hearing aid that you can get at your local clinic and it costs you half the amount of money.” Well then you have to ask yourself, “How do they do that? Is it the same product, number one? What would I be getting if I went to a clinic instead of buying it online?” And so the big difference if you’re going to shop online, which I do all the time, I’m typically asking myself when I get a much cheaper price, “Is this worth the value of the less money that I’m paying? And why am I paying less?”

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: So I encourage your listeners just to say, “Okay, I’m paying X amount of dollars less, what does that mean? Or what did I lose? Or did I hit a really good deal?” Typically, on the hearing side of it, what’s you’re going to end up doing is if you buy something online, which we don’t deter you from not doing is just know expectations should be. So if they say, “Oh, it’s 49.95 for the next five days,” I always think about that when I buy things online and hear there’s only two left. “Are there really only two left or do you just want me to buy this right now?”

Dale Johnson: What brand names do you trust?

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: I think that’s a really good question. I think when hear me say name brands, you’re going to hear me say names that you are not going to be familiar with because these are devices that are developed by top manufacturers in hearing aids, so Phonak, Oticon, Starkey. They may have heard of these products before, but I would tell you the people who sell hearing aids online are not from the major manufacturers. They do not promote online sale for the most part. I will say there are some out there that are doing it, but it’s not typical because you need a provider to fit that hearing aid to you. If you order online and you saved yourself $2,000, let’s say it’s half the cost you saved yourself, does it fit right? Is it program to you correctly?

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: I would tell you, Dale, I did a fitting during COVID via telehealth. It was one of the most challenging things I had ever done. I didn’t know what it looked like in the patient’s ear. She had an issue with it not fitting right. How could I help her when I couldn’t be proximity to her? So doing the best job of getting that product fit to you is going to happen with a provider. It’s not going to happen through the mail or over the television. It may work okay, but that’s why you’re why you’re paying less dollars.

Dale Johnson: But good on you, Dr. Miller, because you’ve said before in past conversations, that if someone comes to you with a device not purchased through Complete Hearing, you take it upon yourself to assist them in as many ways as you can because you are there for a person who needs that device, whether that device came from you or not.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Absolutely. I really challenge my patients to say, “If you bought something online and it’s not working, you need some review on how to make it work. If you want it customized more to your ear, we’d be glad to do that for you. We want the best thing for you.” So if you’ve come in and said… I’ve had patients say to me, “I feel bad, I spent $2,000 and I bought these hearing aids online thinking I would save some dollars.” I’ll say, “Well, let’s use those dollars that you’ve spent and let me see if I can make these work for you the best they possibly can.” We always take that step first. But if it doesn’t work, then we use other options, but if people have put money out, I don’t want them spending more money if I can work with what they have.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: I would tell you the definite challenge though, Dale, is when you buy things online or over the television, oftentimes it may not be by a main manufacturer. So I may not have the software or the hearing aid may be locked and I can’t work on it. So there’s limitations to what you may buy on the television or online. And I always encourage my patients, if you have questions, if you’re considering making a purchase and it’s not from our clinic, just let us know. I can always give you an honest opinion on, “That might be a good deal for you,” or, “I would highly recommend you not do that.”

Dale Johnson: You said something Dr. Miller, the comment, “They may be locked, the device might be locked.” Explain that.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Yeah, so there’s some hearing aids out there that are proprietary. That just means if you buy a hearing aid from a certain vendor, that hearing aid is locked down to only be programmed by that vendor. So you can come to my clinic and have me program it because it just will not pull up in my software. There’s a way around it. We do it probably a couple of times a month, where we have patients come in and say, “I purchased this,” and I’ll say, “Your hearing aid’s locked, I have to call the manufacturer and get an unlock code.” And so there’s ways around it, but it just makes the process so much more cumbersome. And so yes, you can lock them. So their proprietary, that they can only be programmed by the person who sold it to you.

Dale Johnson: There is a way around it.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: There’s a way around it.

Dale Johnson: See, this is the kind of service you’re going to get, folks. We talk about this every Saturday morning at this time, and every time I learn something and I appreciate the skillset that Dr. Miller brings to her profession and your staff the same way.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Absolutely. And I think it’s just that time that when people… And I would tell you, we talked about, people are getting maybe some stimulus money or they’re getting something where they have a little extra funds in their pocket. I want them to be so conscious about how they spend those dollars. If they’re kind of like, “You know, I feel pretty good where I’m at now. I have a little extra money, what am I going to do with this?” Just be educated on what you decide you’re going to do with that. And if you decide, “I want to purchase this hearing aid,” or, “I want to purchase this device, Dr. Miller could help me with some questions I have,” please let us know. We are about educating you, whether you have a hearing aid from us or not.

Dale Johnson: With the limited amount of time we have left, resources, we talked about Googling research, knowledge, hone up on a subject. Mention the resources available at Complete Hearing.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Absolutely. I would say this is really, more of this downtime has given us time to, “What are creative ways we can be helping our patients, reaching out to our patients, educating our patients?” So we obviously have a great website, but we also have, of course this program will run on our website under podcast. You can look at our blog for research articles, and now we have a YouTube channel, and so that is just putting videos out to help you in regards to education. So you can go and check out our YouTube channel. We encourage you to like it, subscribe to it, because we’re going to continue to develop videos just to educate you, and it’s just simply about education. So those are great sources. And check out our Facebook page. We post everything on there as well.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: So we want you to be educated and we want our posts to be purposeful and educational and helpful. That’s why we are here, is to make sure you get the best experience you possibly can when it comes to your health and your hearing health. If you want to reach out to us, that’s a great way to do that, is to check out our website. You can contact us there. You can actually make an appointment online. You can call us. And of course, you’re always welcome to come to the clinic when we are open. Call when you get there and we will greet you for sure. We’re located at 72nd and Pioneer’s, or 402-489-4418 is our phone number.

Dale Johnson: Catch up by going to A podcast of this show is there, so is every conversation Dr. Miller and I have had since the first of the year. Thanks for your time, Dr. Miller.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D: Thank you.