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.

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Masks Are the Latest Obstacle for People With Hearing Loss

I thought I had figured out how to live with hearing loss. I wear my hearing devices regularly and employ a handful of assistive listening devices as needed in various situations. I advocate for myself with friends, family and strangers, teaching them to use communication best practices. I utilize lipreading cues and am not shy to try to change the environment to meet my hearing needs whenever possible. I am confident and competent. But then came COVID-19, and a new hurdle entered the field — masks — the latest in a long line of obstacles for people with hearing loss.

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How To Talk To Family About Your Hearing Loss

When someone in the family has hearing loss, the whole family is impacted. Getting everyone on the same page can help enhance communication and make hearing loss much less frustrating and difficult for all. As the person with hearing loss, it is your responsibility to allow your family to share your unique journey. Here are some tips to do just that.

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Hearing Loss Advocacy: Captions Are Our Ramps

Last week’s post was an open letter to video conferencing companies like Zoom and Google, asking them to provide free auto captioning for people with hearing loss during this time of physical distancing. In most cases, auto captioning is available on these platforms, but it is hidden behind a paywall for premium paid accounts. There was so much support from readers, I started a petition on Change.org to capture the response.

The results have been tremendous. As of this writing, 8,000 people have signed the petition, and the number continues to grow. I have begun sharing the petition with the companies. If you have not signed already, will you help me to show more support by signing and sharing the petition? Together we can make change happen!

SIGN OUR PETITION ON CHANGE.ORG 

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Hearing Loss Access: Zoom & Google, Make Free Captions Available Now

People with hearing loss have trouble communicating in many situations leading to isolation and loneliness during normal times. Today, amid COVID-19, things are even tougher. In-person conversation has moved online, leaving many people with hearing loss few options for connecting with family and friends, especially seniors who are most at risk for developing virus complications.

Free automatic speech recognition (ASR) captioning for people with hearing loss on video conference platforms like Zoom and Google could make all the difference. Today I pen an open letter to these companies. Please share my words and add your own. Together, we can bring about the change we need to remain engaged and productive in today’s challenging times.

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