Value and Reimbursement
There are a number of potential financial and extrinsic benefits associated with conducting a Group AR program. These benefits include:
- Fewer hearing aid returns
- Increase in the number of satisfied clients
- Increase in loyal clients resulting in increased outside and word-of-mouth referrals
- Conversion of monaural to binaural hearing aid users
- Increase in sales of hearing assistive technology systems
- Decrease of drop-in appointments due to increased self-sufficiency
- Mastery of troubleshooting techniques resulting in fewer visits for cerumen occluded hearing aids
- Opportunity to enroll clients in programs such as a battery club
Clients participating in Group AR programs are likely to:
- Develop increased self-sufficiency
- Foster self-efficacy
- Improve ability to address psycho-social influences on behavior
- Improve socialization ("know you are not along with hearing loss")
- Improve relationships with the clinic and audiologist
Evidenced-based practice and anecdotal experiences make up a solid basis for Group AR justification. Reports demonstrate that the provision of these services foster the development of relationships between clients, hearing care professionals, and the clinic/facility where the services are provided.
Because of Group AR, clients often experience increased self-efficacy, increased independence and self sufficiency. In the end, this results in a decreased need for frequent visits to the audiologist. As a result, a clinic is able to use their precious time in a more efficient manner. Additional client visits and treatments can be added due to the time savings afforded by Group AR.
Joseph Montano discusses how you can convey the value of Group AR to your clinic and organization.
It is critical to be aware of the financial programs available in your country before beginning a Group AR program.
Many audiologists claim they are unable to provide aural rehabilitation services due to the lack of third-party (insurance) reimbursement.
In the U.S., audiologists usually do not receive compensation for providing group or one-on-one aural rehabilitation services. Audiology is considered a diagnostic profession and not eligible for therapeutic reimbursement. Speech-language pathology, on the other hand, is considered therapeutic and eligible for compensation.
In other countries, reimbursement rules depend on the regulations that influence the provision of hearing services.
Ross, M. (1997). A retrospective look at the future of aural rehabilitation. Journal of the Academy of Rehabilitative , 30, 11-28. Audiology
Hawkins, D. (2005). Effectiveness of counseling-based adult group aural rehabilitation programs: A systematic review of the evidence. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 16(7), 485-493
Hickson, L, Worrall, L, & Scarinci, N. (2007). A randomized controlled trial evaluating the Active Communication Education program for older people with hearing impairment. Ear and Hearing, 28(2), 212-230.