By Carol Meyers, Au.D.
We continue to benefit from incredible technological advances that assist in the diagnosis and treatment of many health conditions. One rapidly growing technology with the potential to revolutionize hearing care is telehealth, which utilizes telecommunication technologies like smartphone apps to provide virtual healthcare and education services to patients.
Many hearing aid wearers already use apps that serve as remote controls or audio streamers for their hearing aids. As manufacturers develop more ways to leverage smartphone apps, consumers can also expect to change the way they interact with their hearing care professional for the better. Here are some ways telehealth hearing care apps can help you.
Save time and effort.
Nothing will ever completely replace face-to-face interactions with your healthcare providers. However, some issues can be resolved with a brief conversation. Telehealth apps offer text, voice, and even video calls so that you can consult your hearing care professional without making a trip to the office. Furthermore, apps can store useful information, such as care and usage instructions and troubleshooting guides, so you can use them to solve problems at your convenience. This is particularly advantageous if you live in a remote area, cannot take time off work, or have difficulty getting around.
Adjust to wearing new hearing aids.
Getting used to wearing new hearing aids involves actually retraining your brain to process all the sounds that you were missing before amplification. Hearing care apps can assign you simple daily exercises to complete, such as rustle a newspaper or have group conversation during a family meal. These exercises encourage your exposure to a variety of listening situations. As you complete these tasks, you can rate your satisfaction with the experience, which is then transmitted to your hearing care professional.
Let hearing care professional monitor your hearing needs.
Your hearing care professional wants to ensure your satisfaction and success just as much as you want your questions and concerns about your new hearing aids resolved. Your ratings and feedback regarding new listening experiences can be transmitted via the app to your hearing care professional, who can then contact you if necessary.
Have your hearing aids adjusted remotely.
Not only can your hearing care professional interact with you via apps, they can also access your hearing aid settings directly without your needing to visit the office. Based on your feedback (via a text or call) they can adjust your hearing aid settings and send the update through the app to your hearing aids. Once you accept the change, those adjustments take effect so you can try them out immediately.
Finally, telehealth apps are safe. They are secured via end-to-end encryption so that interactions and conversations between you and your hearing care professional remain private. The next time you visit your hearing care professional, ask how a hearing aid telehealth app can help you.
With more than 25 years of clinical practice, Carol Meyers, Au.D., is an educational specialist for Signia responsible for the training and education of staff and hearing care professionals in the U.S. on the company’s products, technology, software, services, and audiology-related topics.