A Patient Wish List For the First Audiologist Appointment

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.

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Communication Tips For People With Hearing Loss

Audiologists have a unique opportunity to aid patients navigate the challenging world of communicating with hearing loss. In my latest post for Ida Institute, I provide communication best practice tips that audiologists can share with their patients and their patients’ conversation partners. See an excerpt from the piece below. To read the full article click here

Communication Tips For Audiologists To Share With Patients

When I first started losing my hearing, conversations became more difficult. Whether it was at work, or socially with friends, I began to miss small details of the discussion, especially punch lines of jokes. Even when I began wearing hearing aids, these problems persisted, especially in noisy environments. Sometimes I would pretend to hear, other times I would ask for a repeat, but what I never did was ask my conversation partner to use communication best practices, because I didn’t know about them.

Simple things like keeping your mouth uncovered, or making sure to face the person when you are speaking seem obvious to me now, but early on in my hearing loss journey, they were not. When audiologists teach their patients how to have better conversations, with or without the use of hearing devices, they help patients stay connected with the important people in their lives, a primary goal of person-centered cared.

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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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