With at least 48 million people dealing with hearing loss in the United States alone there is a large chance that you or someone you love is dealing with this condition. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic many people who deal with hearing loss are reluctant to seek treatment for fear of in person exposure to the virus. This concern is particularly relevant for older patients who struggle with hearing loss and are more susceptible to the effects of the virus.
Even so, when hearing loss goes ignored or untreated the side effects can affect your relationships at home and work as well as affect sense of independence and mobility. The important thing to remember is that for many hearing issues you don’t have to go into the office to treat your hearing loss.
Now, thanks to the popularity and larger availability of telemedicine, people with hearing loss are able to deal with hearing issues, without having to worry about in-person contact.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients from a distance using telecommunications technology. This includes the telephone, video chats, computer software and smartphone apps. While this practice is gaining popularity now it has been in practice for over 40 years in order to give care to people with lack of mobility or in remote areas.
Telemedicine works best for patient consultations over videoconferencing, remote monitoring of vital signs, medical education, healthcare call centers and more however the ability of care continues to improve and increase as technology advances.
The Benefits of Telemedicine
Not only does telemedicine improve access to patients, it also allows physicians and health-care facilities to be able to reach past the confines of doctor offices to care for patients who cannot travel due to lack of mobility, safety issues or distance. As health care workers are often stretched thin, unable to reach as many patients, telehealth allows providers to care for more people who can dearly benefit without the stress of traveling.
Not only is telemedicine easier for many patients and healthcare providers, but it also cuts costs for patients and for medical professionals. From a distance, telemedicine can monitor chronic issues, such as hearing loss, and limit the amount of doctor’s visits and travel time. In fact, studies show over and over that the quality of health-care services delivered through telemedicine is equal to in person consultations. For instance, patients with hearing loss can use captions while speaking to audiologists to make sure they can read what they may not hear.
Learning to Hear Again from a Distance
While there are aspects of medicine that just are not as efficient with in person exams, telemedicine has proved to be incredibly effective for many people with hearing issues. This is especially true for people who are already wearing hearing aids but need to have them adjusted. Getting used to new hearing aids actually calls for retraining your brain to hear sounds you have become accustomed to not hearing in a while. Hearing care apps can assign you daily tasks and listening exercises to help retrain your brain to hear. These exercises can help you adjust to new hearing aids or so you can feel successful in potentially challenging situations.
Monitoring Hearing From A Distance
There are smartphone and desktop apps that connect to your hearing aids remotely. Many of these apps will ask you to rate or give feedback about your success in different listening situations. Your feedback can be used to remotely adjust your hearing aids so they can operate best for you. Yes! Hearing health care professionals can access your hearing aid settings directly and make adjustments without your needing to visit the office with your consent.
Now You Don’t Have a Reason to Delay!
If you have experienced changes in your hearing, it is important to take a hearing test. There’s no need to struggle through this time without being able to hear your best. Contact our office and make an appointment today!