How can audiologists show the hearing loss community that they are more than just providers of hearing aids — that they are genuinely here to help? My latest article for Ida Institute discusses practical ways audiologists can demonstrate they are part of our hearing loss team. Suggestions include engaging with the hearing loss community outside of the office and advocating for the needs of people with hearing loss in their local communities.
To read the full article click here.
Become a part of the hearing loss community
To serve the needs of the hearing loss community, providers must begin to truly understand people with hearing loss. The best way to do this is to become part of the community. Interacting with the community outside of a clinical setting will help you understand our concerns, see firsthand the struggles we face as we navigate the world, and learn which issues are most important to us. The easiest way is to join a local hearing loss support group such as a Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) chapter or similar body and attend the in-person or virtual meetings. If there is no group in your area, consider starting one of your own.
Advocate for improved accessibility in your local area
Reach out to local government officials and business leaders about the importance of hearing loops and the benefits of providing captioning at public events and entertainment venues. When you go to the movies or attend the theater, use a captioning device or infrared listening device to better understand how they work or don’t work and speak to management about your experiences. Consider sponsoring an open captioned screening at a local movie theater for your clients or a hearing friendly tour of a museum so your clients can experience the joys of accessibility themselves. Many may not be aware options like this even exist.
Partner with the medical community on hearing care
Educate doctors in your community about the importance of healthy hearing and its links to other health issues. Suggest that doctors screen patients for hearing loss at wellness visits and refer patients to audiologists for further testing when needed. Teach medical staff to use communication best practices. Many people with hearing loss miss important information at medical appointments because doctors speak rapidly and do not face them. Masks make this even more challenging. Show doctors how to speak so they can be understood.
Click here to read the full article on Ida Institute.
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2 thoughts on “Hearing Loss Advocacy — Audiologist Style”
Many internists may not yet have come to the understanding that hearing loss is a health issue. Even if it is not creating health problems at that moment for a patient, it may very well in the future as the patient ages. Doctors know this about smoking and obesity, and need to be educated about the health risks associated with hearing loss. If they knew more about those risks, possibly they would be more likely to do hearing assessments as part of routine examinations and to refer people to audiologists for follow-up. Possibly HLAA can try to connect with medical schools and the AMA to advocate for better training of physicians with respect to these issues.
Great idea Jon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.