4 Uses for Telehealth in Audiology

Here's what you need to know about how telehealth works now that it's becoming more common and available!

4 Uses for Telehealth in Audiology

by Dr. Kevin Ivory

Telehealth is a form of virtual healthcare. It refers to using the internet to link patients with their healthcare providers to obtain services. Here's what you need to know about how it works now that it's becoming more common and available!

What is Telehealth, and how does it work?

Telehealth has the advantage of allowing healthcare practitioners to assess, diagnose, and treat patients from a distance using telecommunications technology. 

It became increasingly popular as the pandemic progressed, even though these innovations are not strictly new. With Covid-19 stopping many patients from receiving in-person treatment, Telehealth has helped people access services that would otherwise be difficult to do otherwise.

The ability to provide remote healthcare to patients in their homes, offices, or assisted living facilities has become commonplace as more people gain access to mobile devices and internet speeds capable of delivering high-quality video.

Uses for Telehealth in audiology

This move to remote services has reached several areas of healthcare, and hearing health is no different. Here are some of the ways Telehealth is currently being used to provide hearing health services. 

Remote Consultation 

You can now make a call or have a videoconference conversation about your hearing health needs from the comfort of your own home. Use audio and video to communicate with an audiologist or hearing care specialist over the phone, smartphone, or personal computer.

Remote Hearing Aid Evaluations

If hearing aids are needed, you can talk about the hearing and lifestyle considerations that your hearing specialist should take into account when choosing your device. A telehealth appointment can also be used to perform hearing aid tests to decide which hearing solution is appropriate for your situation.

Remote hearing aid programming

Hearing aids are becoming more compatible with smartphones and desktop devices, allowing hearing professionals to program and adjust hearing aids remotely. 

This is accomplished in part by answering questions and conducting surveys about hearing experiences. When these surveys are completed correctly, audiologists can make knowledgeable hearing aid modifications without the need for an in-person appointment.

There is a specific advantage to adjusting hearing aids at home - they will be reprogrammed in your most used environment. This is essential as many new hearing aid users will need a few readjustments before they feel entirely comfortable with their devices. 

Remote hearing aid maintenance

If you're not sure how to care for your hearing aids, your hearing professional can guide you through the process remotely. They'll gladly advise you about everything from which software to use to how to clean and maintain your device.

What are the advantages of receiving remote hearing care?

Even before COVID-19, Telehealth was gaining in popularity, allowing patients who were unable to travel due to mobility problems (such as much older adults) to receive audiology services still while removing the need to travel to an office. 

Telehealth also provides a lifeline for those who live in rural areas and live far from a hearing practice. They can now access the same standard of care as they would find in a large metropolitan city. 

Getting started

Telehealth is reasonably easy to get started with. All you'll need is a pair of compatible hearing aids and a smartphone that's connected to the internet. Your smartphone link is used for remote programming. Depending on the hearing aids, it might be a live session or completed on-demand.

You may have trouble hearing during phone or video calls if you have hearing loss. This can make it more difficult for you to hear during your next telemedicine appointment. But don't worry; the following pointers will assist you in hearing during your virtual meeting with your hearing professional.

  • To ensure good sound quality, make sure you have good speakers.
  • Instead of an audio call, make a video call. It's a lot easier to follow what your hearing professional says if you can see his or her face. It will also help you read nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and hand movements.
  • Remove any background noises, such as the radio or television. Take the call in a quiet location where you won't be disturbed.
  • If you didn't quite catch something, ask them to repeat themselves. Remember that you can ask the hearing specialist or slow down when you don't understand something.
  • Another suggestion is to invite a family member to accompany you to your next telehealth appointment. They will assist you by taking notes, asking more questions, and ensuring that you've discussed everything you needed to discuss with the hearing specialist.

We recognize that Telehealth can be a daunting idea, especially when navigating the various devices needed to receive the services. Our team is here to assist you! If you have any more questions about Telehealth, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Kevin H. Ivory
Audiologist & University Instructor
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Dr. Kevin Ivory, Au.D., CCC-A received his Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then went on to earn his Doctor of Audiology degree from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, one of the top 10 audiology residential programs in the country.

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