With the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic, our offices as well as many others have had to take a look into diversifying our typical ways of serving our patients in the safest way possible. We’ve done this throughout our locations in several ways, including teaching patients how to provide some of their own hearing aid maintenance at home, curbside appointments at many of our offices where possible, and where appropriate providing Telehealth appointments. “Telehealth” is providing services from one location to another using a telecommunications (typically a phone call or video client) medium as appropriate.
Telehealth, also known as Telemedicine, e-care, e-health, Telepractice, Telecare or even Teleaudiology is something being utilized more and more in healthcare, in many different realms. Cardiology, radiography, otology, psychology, nursing and many more are branching into this side of healthcare now more than ever to keep vulnerable patients out of clinics and safely distanced to assist in flattening the curve where we can, and protecting any of our more vulnerable patients.
When this comes to Audiology specifically, there are many ways we can utilize this style of appointment. Some of our follow up appointments that are typically held to answer questions and provide further guidance in the way of hearing healthcare and hearing aids, are now being conducted over the phone or via video chat when appropriate. Our office has developed a YouTube channel with some guidance videos on how to troubleshoot your device issues at home if you so choose. As well as new technology coming out from many hearing aid manufacturers that can be used to remotely program hearing aids without the patient having to be physically present in the clinic.
Phonak, ReSound, Starkey, Widex, Signia & Unitron all have specific devices currently being made that can utilize your smart phone’s connectivity to your hearing aids to allow your Audiologist to perform adjustments and some light diagnostic troubleshooting virtually. Specifically, you fill out a request via the phone app connected to your devices, and your Audiologist is alerted to your concern as to what changes are desired. If this provides all the necessary information, your Audiologist will send you updated programming to your phone to be downloaded, and you can begin to trial and evaluate those updated settings. If further information is required, our office will contact you to set up a telehealth visit in which you will call or video chat with your Audiologist to assess your programming needs and have them adjusted while you’re speaking over the phone. In the event that your devices are in need of repair or in person appointment is recommended, your Audiologist will help you get that set up. All of these options are available as appropriate, call our office today to discuss which may be best for you at 816.478.3008.