The COVID-19 pandemic has, in many ways, changed the world forever. During lockdown orders, essential and non-essential businesses alike had to make immediate adjustments to continue serving their clientele without jeopardizing the quality of their services. The hearing care industry is no exception. The pandemic made many individuals, especially high-risk senior citizens, hesitant about keeping their regular appointments out of fear of exposure to the virus. After many months spent reworking business strategies, many hearing care providers have pivoted to offer telemedicine as part of their services.
Telemedicine allows patients to conveniently schedule and keep appointments without worrying about disrupting their routine.
Telehealth is a HIPAA compliant form of healthcare that allows patients to log into a secure video portal where they can connect with experienced hearing care providers remotely. With this healthcare service delivery model, patients can receive care anywhere they have access to an internet connection.
One of the most significant advantages of telehealth is its accessibility, especially in the context of hearing loss. When it comes to in-person care, patients suffering from hearing loss may avoid treatment due to insecurity, or they may struggle to hear effectively during face-to-face interactions. Telemedicine allows these individuals to access treatment without emotional and physical barriers.
Telemedicine is available to new patients and returning patients alike, but it can be an exceptionally streamlined experience if the patient has an established relationship with their hearing care specialists. Telemedicine allows patients to receive diagnostic evaluations and interact with their doctor in a personal way. Telemedicine is especially advantageous for people in rural areas and people with mobility challenges.
While telehealth certainly has broad-spectrum benefits, it would be remiss not to highlight the applications specifically for calibrating hearing aids. If you’re a busy person, high-risk for viral infection, or live far from your hearing care specialist, it can be incredibly inconvenient to make time twice a year to adjust your hearing aids.
As technology advances, hearing care providers have evolved to meet the growing needs of their patients by offering remote hearing aid calibration. Telemedicine is especially convenient for new patients or people who have recently been fitted with new hearing aids because these can require frequent adjustments until the proper settings are found. Previously, this process involved several in-person in-office visits, but now, it can be done in a few minutes from the comfort of your own home.
During a remote appointment, your hearing care provider will use secure web-based software to make real-time adjustments to your hearing aids as needed. If there is an issue, you’ll know immediately and be able to report it to your hearing care provider.
There are ways to prepare for your telehealth appointment with your hearing care provider to ensure its success. Below you’ll find some tips for making the most of your telehealth appointments:
Not all telehealth software is created equally, so even if you have previously used telehealth software, it’s a good idea to ask for detailed instructions about your provider’s unique software. This simple step will allow you to feel more confident in the quality of your care and your ability to access it.
Right now, the imperative for telemedicine is convenience. Moving forward, patients can expect more and more hearing care providers to take advantage of telemedicine as the laws evolve around it.
With accessibility in mind, the growing trend of telemedicine may also bring down the costs of hearing equipment. With improved access to care, many caregivers have reported that the ability to remotely service devices and keep an open line of communication has increased their patients’ quality of life, mood, and enjoyment of other activities.
For more information about our telehealth options, including the ability to remotely calibrate and service hearing devices, don’t hesitate to review our customer services, resources, and hearing aids options.