COVID-19 has disrupted hearing health care, potentially for the better. Both audiologists and patients have needed to adapt. In my latest article for Ida Institute, I provide my suggestions for how providers can best partner with their patients during this difficult time. Practicing person-centered care will not only help providers forge strong relationships with patients during this time of crisis, it will help patients develop the self-care skills they will need for success with their hearing health for years to come. Read the full article.
How Providers Can Best Partner With Patients Today
How can providers best partner with their patients during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond? Here are my suggestions. Please add yours in the comments.
Adapt your communication tips for the changing times
Teaching your patients communication best practices has always been an important part of person-centered care. Keep your tips current by incorporating advice for new challenges like attending video conference calls and communicating with people wearing masks.
In this new world of remote care, you will not be able to manually adjust every setting or clean every wax guard for all of your patients. Teach your patients the skills they need to care for and maintain their devices by themselves from home. These new abilities will build their confidence and free up time in post-pandemic appointments for counseling and aural rehabilitation activities. Consider remote programming of devices as well. Many manufacturers offer this feature.
Think outside the hearing aid
Hearing aids and cochlear implants are miracle devices that help your patients hear their best, but in these challenging times, other options may be needed, particularly if a device becomes lost or broken. Become familiar with high quality over-the-counter-type amplification devices like Bose Hearphones or apps like Ear Machine that you can recommend to patients. These options work best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss but may be better than nothing for patients with higher degrees of loss in a pinch. Speech-to-text apps are helpful for people with all degrees of hearing loss.
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