I wonder if we should do a bit more clarification of what a hearing aid 'fitter' is and/or can be. In Wisconsin, 'fitters' are required to pass a state exam to be licensed to sell hearing aids. Audiologists and hearing instrument specialists (HIS) take the same exam, and have the same privileges to fit and sell hearing aids. The difference is education. HIS need have no more than a high school diploma, and experience working under a licensed 'fitter', a short internship of sorts. Audiologists, for the most part have doctorate level degrees, that are indicated by the AuD initials following their name. Actually, many have a master's degree rather than an AuD degree, and are grandfathered in as clinical audiologists. They do not all have the same level of education, nor do they have the same quality of practice. And yet, some HIS seem to be better at fitting hearing aids than some AuDs, based on customer satisfaction. My personal opinion on REM is that 'more is better'. Why not get the full package when you're paying for the product? Even more important is what you do after you walk out of their office with the product(s) you just paid a fortune for. You have a mandatory trial period, according to the laws of your state. USE IT to try the products everywhere you ever plan to go or be. Don't get frustrated because things don't sound right. You only have 30 days to figure this out, so use them wisely. Go to a play, to the theater, to a social setting where background noise is present. Eat out. Don't simply test them in quiet.
Further, if your 'fitter' doesn't demonstrate the options available to you, and merely tells you about them, you are getting short changed. I don't know anyone who would not choose to have the telecoil option if they were able to plug in to a radio, ipod, laptop, etc. with a neckloop, or better yet to use with a loop installed in the 'fitter's office with a TV. You have to try it to know what it does. Merely having someone who is selling you something tell you that this 'option' might help you in some places, isn't good enough. And, some 'fitters' will tell you it's not important. Wrong! It is important IF you really want to hear in all settings, even those you may have abandoned because of your hearing loss. Some will tell you they don't want to add cost to the product by selling their customers on options. Don't swallow that. A quality telecoil in a hearing aid will add less than $20 to the cost of the product. It is not an added expense. So, when you go to your HIS, audiologist or 'fitter', be armed with questions and have some ideas about the answers, which are why you are asking those questions in the first place. You are paying for service and should expect the best available. Bluetooth technology is wonderful, but it does NOT replace the telecoil feature, so don't swallow that one either. Seriously, your approach to buying a hearing aid should be a consumer approach. Do some research. Talk to people who use hearing aids successfully. Read. Find some HLAA folks who are willing to openly discuss their hearing loss journeys. You won't regret it. (Sorry so long, but this is such an important topic!)