A hearing aid formulary is similar to a drug formulary in many respects. With drugs, the larger the formulary, the easier it is for a physician to precisely match a medication to a patient’s health condition. Likewise, an extensive hearing aid formulary, comprising a broad selection of brands, models and options, gives audiologists and hearing care providers a distinct advantage in addressing each patient’s unique hearing loss, lifestyle and preferences.
This matters for a couple of key reasons. First, when people love their hearing aids, they are more likely to fully experience the main benefit of amplification — a reconnection with the sounds that are important to their lives — directly contributing to a positive member experience. Secondly, by consistently wearing their hearing aids, individuals reduce their risk of developing costly, life-altering health conditions that have a proven connection to untreated hearing loss, including depression, dementia and injury-causing falls.
A large hearing aid formulary also helps strengthen the provider network and the ability to deliver personalized hearing health care. Providers feel more empowered to effectively address each patient’s needs and preferences. Conversely, they’re less likely to use “workarounds” (i.e., dispensing outside the formulary) to achieve the best possible outcomes for their patients.
In addition, a robust product selection contributes to a diverse provider network, further enabling a highly tailored approach to hearing health care. For example, one member may be well-suited to receiving care from a hearing aid dispenser who operates in a retail setting and offers a certain brand of hearing devices. Meanwhile, another individual requires the services of an audiologist who carries a different product mix and delivers care in a more clinical environment. Ultimately, both members get the best, most cost-effective solution to meet their differing needs and preferences.