Recently, Darren Barkman, MA, BC-HIS, editor of the Starting Hear blog, sat down with Dr. Dennis Van Vliet, to discuss how people can be successful wearing hearing aids.  Dr. Van Vliet has been providing better hearing for over forty years, in private practice as an audiologist, a noted researcher and lecturer, and now as a Vice President of a top hearing aid manufacturer.


Dennis Van Vliet, Au.D.


Darren Barkman (DB): Dr. Van Vliet, folks may be visiting the Starting Hear blog looking for information about hearing aids and they’re looking at them as something they’re buying, a product that they’re going to purchase. But it’s not so simple, is it?

Dr. Dennis Van Vliet (DVV): No, it isn’t and that’s the fun part about it for us because we can take something that has plenty of potential and capabilities, but there certainly needs to be an application of the science, some application of this interpersonal relationship with the person who is going to be wearing the hearing aid.  It really starts at the initial part, ‘Well, what are your needs?’ The patient may say, ‘I think I need a new hearing aid’. My next question might be, ‘What is your current hearing aid NOT doing? How can we help you with that?’. It really takes a long time for us to get to know that patient and find out exactly what their needs are. Once we do, then we start discussing – and this is really the two of us – the patient and the clinician, shoulder to shoulder, working together, against this problem the person has. And that’s just getting started!

DB: And wouldn’t it be nice if you could always nail down every problem during the initial consultation or the first fitting of the new hearing aids? It takes a lot of work depending on the patient…

DVV: Of course. I’ve learned a lot over the years. I used to think ‘If I could only hook these hearing aids up to a computer and adjust them, all of our problems would go away.’ Of course we were foolish to think that! We have to start working together to make sure we have a product that’s going to have the features – ALL of the features that work well, and that the patient understands that they’re still going to have to do some additional training and practicing to try and compensate for some of these issues that will come up. We’re not going to get that kind of understanding and relationship between the specialist and the patient without a lot of time and inquiry. So it’s more than just a transaction; this is an on-going relationship that lasts for a long time and is very complex.



Since 1939, Hear For You has built its reputation on creating this patient/specialist relationship.  As Dr. Van Vliet described, hearing aids are not just an appliance to pick off of a shelf.  The right connection with a qualified practitioner can make all the difference about your success with hearing aids.  Please contact your nearest Hear For You office at 1-800-942-HEAR to set up your FREE initial consultation and start that important relationship today!