Finding the Right Pediatric Audiologist
Your child and her audiologist will likely be a team for years. It’s important that this is how it feels: like a partnership. To help find the best teammate for your child, approach selecting an audiologist with care.
How Do I Find a Pediatric Audiologist Near Me?
First things first: it’s important to understand that an audiologist is a specialized professional and pediatric audiology is even more specialized. There are audiologists who hold the Pediatric Audiology Specialty Certification. This designation is acquired by passing a rigorous examination and has practiced for a minimum number of years. The American Board of Audiology (ABA) allows for search by state and specialty. Be sure to select the PASC certification.
You can also do a simple search for “pediatric audiologists near me” in Google but you’ll likely have to do some digging to find those who hold a PASC. Once you’ve reviewed the audiologists in your area, do your research. Read online reviews, ask your child’s doctor and other parents of children with hearing impairments you know, or use online forums to learn about audiologists. One thing to look for is whether or not the audiologist is using current best practices and has a clean office.
Think about your child and how they react to adults and ask questions to get a sense of the fit. For example, if your child is shy, an audiologist who gives a child space might be a better fit than one who is overly affectionate. You know your child best and doing groundwork can help you narrow down the best choice.
Most audiologists do an initial consultation or getting-to-know-you visit. This is the perfect time to finalize your decision. Professionals understand that fit is important, that’s why these meetings are available. It is a great idea to tell the office about your child ahead of time. You can say things like, “We’re coming in for an appointment. Can you let the audiologist know my child feels better when they are near me?” Pediatric audiologists are used to children and generally highly accommodating. Just be reasonable and make sure your requests are what your child needs.
Preparing for your First Appointment
Chances are there will be a long wait for your appointment, and there may not be a pediatric audiologist near you, so use this time to prepare both yourself and your child for the visit. Children can be anxious about doctors. Some get antsy on longer trips. One of the best ways to alleviate this is by introducing the idea of visiting a pediatric audiologist and being excited about everything from the drive to the visit.
Especially if you have an anxious child, don’t turn this preparation into an event. Keep it casual! Use the spaces when you ask about things like what your child wants for dinner and how school was to bring up the idea of visiting the audiologist. Look for opportunities to bring up the audiologist naturally. For example, when your child is having trouble hearing you, remind them that you’re going to go visit someone who is going to help them.
Treat the visit as something to look forward to. Put it on a calendar and mark off the days. Ask your child what they’re most excited about hearing. Look at different clips and accessories and let your child pick theirs out. Remember, you may not have too much choice about the actual hearing aid, so avoid having your child look at those. Picking out a special space in your child’s bedroom is also a great way to get her ready.
Consider having your child come up with a few questions they have about hearing loss (general or their own), hearing aids, ears or audiologists. Being in control can be very calming.
The Initial Visit
Use the first visit as a time for your child to be in the lead. Have them remind you when it is time to leave. Give them a job in the car like looking for a road sign or landmark. They can give their name at the desk. Keep your child occupied in the waiting room and watch them closely during the appointment to make sure they are comfortable. Have snacks and distractions like books or puzzles for when you’re speaking to the audiologist.
Whether you’re traveling or lucky enough to have a pediatric audiologist near you, finding the right audiologist is a mix of research, questions and monitoring interactions.