An audiologist is the first stop for most people on their hearing loss journey. The tone and content of that initial appointment are critical elements in setting us down the path for success in managing our hearing loss. In my recent post for Phonak Audiology Blog, I share my wish list for that first audiologist appointment. Please share your ideas in the comments. An excerpt is below. To read the full article click here.
First Audiologist Appointment Can Be Scary
That first audiologist appointment can be an emotional experience for people at the start of their hearing loss journey. Finally admitting that you have a hearing loss and that you need to do something about it can be depressing, shrouded in stigma and downright scary. Combine this with needing to speak on the phone to make the appointment — a dreaded task for many people with hearing loss — and it is no wonder the average person with hearing loss waits 7-10 years to treat it!
Our trepidation continues as we arrive for the first appointment, but there is also hope. We wonder: Will the audiologist focus on the communication challenges that are most important to me? Will I leave with tools and skills that enhance my ability to live my life fully? Will I find a partner in my hearing care? Employ the tips in this article, and your patients will be answering yes to each of these questions.
How to Improve the First Audiologist Appointment
1. Acknowledge the patient’s hearing loss story. Ask us why we are there and listen to the answer. It will provide important details about our lifestyle and the types of communication situations that are most important to us. Your positive response will set the right tone for the appointment and create an honest working dialogue from the start.
2. Use communication best practices. Your patients are there because they cannot hear well. Treat them with respect by speaking clearly and at a moderate pace. Face them and keep your mouth uncovered. Train your office staff to follow suit, in person and over the phone. Consider investing in a hearing loop system or other assistive listening technologies for your office to aid in communication if needed.
3. Practice person-centered care. Work to find solutions to your patients’ specific communication challenges, rather than simply amplification. Some may require assistance for hearing at work, others only socially. Involving the patient in the development of the treatment plan creates buy-in and increases motivation to comply.
For more tips, please continue reading on Phonak Audiology Blog.