What Patients Want from Audiologists During COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted operations for both audiologists and people with hearing loss. Many clinics are closed, or open only for curbside service. But hearing health care doesn’t stop, even during a pandemic. In my latest article for Phonak Audiology Blog, I discuss what patients want from audiologists during COVID-19. An excerpt is below. To read the full article click here. 

A Hearing Loss Patient Wishlist During COVID-19

The world has changed, driven by the required social distancing caused by COVID-19. All of our lives have been disrupted but hearing health must remain a priority. While many audiologist offices and clinics are closed, there are still ways you can continue to support your patients from a distance. Whether it is supplying spare batteries, offering remote advice, or providing communication tips, your patients continue to rely on your expertise, advice and care.

How can audiologists best support people with hearing loss during this time of physical distancing? Here are my suggestions.

Man holding a sign that reads My COVID-19 Audiologist Wish List

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Reasons to Include Family in Audiology Appointments

Audiologists provide much guidance and support to their patients, but few appointments regularly include family members. This is a missed opportunity. In my latest article for Ida Institute, I describe the ways that including family in audiology appointments can benefit the patient, their families, as well as the audiologists themselves. With Telehealth likely a growing aspect of care in our new COVID-19 world, including the family may be easier to achieve than in the past. An excerpt from the piece appears below. You can read the full article on Ida Institute

Including the Family in Audiology Appointments

Most people with hearing loss start their journey alone. While family members are likely the first people to notice when someone has trouble hearing, they often don’t know how to help. This was the case with my father’s hearing loss. My family knew he had trouble hearing our conversations at dinner and that he was overwhelmed by background noise at parties, but he was so stigmatized by his hearing loss that he never asked for assistance and we never figured out how we could help. As the years passed, my father became increasingly isolated from everyone. I wish we had done more to support him. If only we had known what steps to take, we could have saved much unhappiness and frustration for the whole family.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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Finding the Person in Patient-Centered Care

The best audiologists will provide a road map and set of tools that patients can use to manage their hearing loss successfully. These will not be the same for every person, but must be tailored to each patient’s priorities and communication challenges. I share my hearing loss story and tips in this article published in the November/December Issue of Audiology Today. Reprinted with their permission. 

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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Hearing Loss: Why Audiologists Should Recommend Peer Support

Support is important for anyone facing a new challenge. Hearing loss is no different. Audiologists are often the first place people with hearing loss turn when searching for information about their condition. In my latest article for Ida Institute, I encourage audiologists to understand that the emotional aspects of hearing loss are equally important to treat. They can help do that by encouraging patients to seek out a hearing loss support group. I include an excerpt from the piece below. To read the full article click here

Hearing Loss Can Be A Solitary Pursuit

Like most people, I began my hearing loss journey alone, weighed down with stigma and unsure how to best navigate the world with hearing aids. I didn’t know any other people with hearing loss that I could ask for guidance. My father, bogged down with stigma of his own, was no real help. I often felt like I was on my own with this huge challenge, increasingly disconnected from family and friends that did not understand my struggles. Once I found my way to a hearing loss support group, this all changed.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

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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.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

 

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