As one of only two doctors in audiology in Canberra, Dr Bill Vass has built his professional career by delivering ethical, patient-centred care for those with hearing loss. This is a sponsored post.
AS one of only two doctors in audiology in Canberra, Dr Bill Vass has built his professional career by delivering ethical, patient-centred care for those with hearing loss.
Dr Vass graduated from West Virginia University with a Masters of Science degree in Audiology and his Doctor of Audiology from Central Michigan University, and has been maintaining his education and qualifications ever since.
Located in Deakin, Dr Vass runs his own independent clinic where he provides specialist audiological advice and unbiased options.
“I believe it’s important to give my patients a wide choice of devices, which is why I’m not affiliated with any particular brand,” he says.
Dr Vass says he takes a medical approach to his clients, as opposed to the “white goods” sales model that offers free hearing assessments or giveaways to lure customers in and then sell.
“Professional, independent advice about hearing loss and what may be done to help is more important,” he says.
Dr Vass says that the increase in unqualified people working in the audiology industry is cause for concern.
“There is no licensing of people doing this work in Australia, anyone can go out and sell hearing aids with no professional qualifications,” he says.
“I think that people with no qualifications have no business advising people on their hearing loss.”
He says that this worrying trend can lead to people being advised to purchase expensive hearing aids that are not appropriate for them or, in other cases, they’re told to get hearing aids when there is no medical need.
“Wearing hearing aids when you do not need them could overdrive the system and could create additional damage to hearing loss,” he says.
Dr Vass says that, in contrast, he puts his patients’ needs before his own and may even turn people away who are not yet ready for a hearing aid.
“It’s rewarding to help people not be so isolated, and help improve their communication with others, especially their loved ones,” he says.
Technology in hearing aids has improved in sophistication dramatically over the past six years, with the introduction of bluetooth connectivity, remote microphones and television connections. With two inbuilt computers and microphones, Dr Vass says there are thousands of possibilities and adjustments that can be made to a hearing aid to ensure the best results for the patient.
“Hearing aids these days are about clarity not just loudness. They don’t just amplify all sounds,” he says.
Dr Vass says that he helps guide people through a journey – from the initial consultation he understands from his patients what is going on and how they feel about their hearing loss before conducting a comprehensive hearing assessment.
“I will then give advice on the next steps. Sometimes it means looking at hearing-aid options or other times we do nothing… people have to accept and be ready for hearing aids to really be successful for them,” he says.
“We find that those people who put off getting help with their hearing loss for long periods don’t have as successful outcomes as those who seek help earlier.”
Dr Vass encourages people to ask questions of their audiologist before seeking their services. Questions include what are their qualifications, commissions and experience which will help to better guide patients to get the best outcome.
Dr Vass Hearing, Suite 14, John James Medical Centre, 175 Strickland Crescent, Deakin. Visit hearingclinic.com.au