It Takes Two To Tango: Why You Should Partner With Your Audiologist

The audiologist / patient relationship is a critical one for people with hearing loss. In my latest post for Ida Institute, I discuss what steps people with hearing loss can take to help make this relationship a productive one for both sides. See an excerpt from the piece below. To read the full article click here

My hearing aids were shorting out. The issue was accompanied by a popping sensation in my ears — like when you change altitude in a plane. I assumed I had allergies or a cold, but when this happened repeatedly over a period of weeks, I knew a detailed conversation with my audiologist was needed. In that chat, I learned the actual problem was fluid build-up behind my aids, which are worn deep inside my ear canal. This is a common problem, but it was a new one to me, even after more than 20 years of wearing hearing aids! The only solution is taking a break from the aids so the ear can dry out.

While this was certainly inconvenient, I was happy to have an explanation and a remedy. Together, my audiologist and I devised a way for me to handle this situation on my own should it recur. By working together, we solved my problem and created an action plan for the future. If only all audiologist-patient relationships worked this well all the time.

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Finding Hearing Loss Friendly Health Care Providers

Going to the doctor can be stressful at any time, but when you have hearing loss it can also be a communication challenge. Mumbling receptionists make it difficult to check-in and hear your name called when the doctor is ready to see you. In the examination room, doctors are often multitasking, taking notes with their back turned at the same time they ask you questions or provide information about your medical condition. This doesn’t work for someone who uses lipreading to augment what he or she hears. Surprisingly, this can sometimes occur at hearing loss related appointments, even those at your audiologist’s office. When you have hearing loss, self-advocacy is required to make sure you get the most out of every doctor appointment.

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Should You Include Family in Your Next Audiologist Visit?

My recent article for Hearing Tracker ponders whether you should bring your family to your next audiologist appointment. What do you think? 

The power of including your family in your hearing loss journey can’t be overstated. This was on clear display at a recent HLAA panel discussion on family relationships and hearing loss. The panelists included a married couple, a mother/daughter and two sisters. One person in each pair had hearing loss, while the other did not. The love and respect that they had for one another shone through. Not only were they great partners in life, but also in communication. Each acknowledged that it took a lot of work, but the payoff was significant for both sides.

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Interesting Reads: My New E-Book Shares The Hearing Loss Patient’s Perspective

I am excited to announce the publication of my first e-book — “A Primer on Person-Centered Care From the Patient’s Perspective!” In it I share the fits and starts of the early days of my hearing loss journey and how person-centered care could have made my transition from hearing to hearing loss much easier.

The e-book shares my personal hearing loss journey, examines some of my experiences with audiologists over the years, and lays out my formula for person-centered care from the patient perspective. It also provides suggestions for how audiologists can incorporate each component into their daily interactions with patients.

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How To Find The Right Audiologist For You

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a “Good Housekeeping” Seal of approval for audiologists? In my latest post for Ida Institute, I describe what they hope will become the standard benchmark of quality for person-centered care in audiology. I share an excerpt from the piece below. To read the full article click here

When my audiologist retired a year ago, I was devastated. We had invested a lot of time together to find the right programming for my hearing aids and had built a strong working relationship. She was caring, knowledgeable, and always willing to help. She understood my hearing challenges and partnered with me on my communication priorities. How could I replicate this positive dynamic with someone new?

As time passed, I felt more confident. I was no longer an inexperienced hearing aid wearer and knew what I required from an audiologist and how to ask for it. This included many of the components of person-centered care I highlighted in my recent blog series on this topic. I was looking for an audiologist who:

  1. Listens to my particular hearing needs and focuses my care around those.
  2. Runs a hearing loss friendly office with a receptionist I can understand.
  3. Champions new technologies in both hearing aids and assistive listening devices.
  4. Believes best practice communication tools are just as important as technology.

Finding the right person was still difficult. I checked online listings for audiologists in my area, but the metrics presented did not include person-centered care. I reached out to my local hearing loss friends, but many were not satisfied with the care they received and suggested I look elsewhere.

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