Many of today's hearing aids can be programmed and adjusted remotely, without a visit to our Audiology clinic. In this article, I will discuss the importance of Telehealth in hearing care and list some of the available options and technologies.
Why Telehealth is so important
Telehealth has been around for a number of years and has offered patients an easy way to connect to their healthcare providers when in-person visits were either unavailable or inconvenient. More recently, Telehealth has offered healthcare providers and their patients a needed lifeline during our recent health crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers have been leveraging Telehealth to help deliver care to patients under lockdown restrictions or to high-risk patients that do not feel comfortable with an in-person visit. This has become increasingly important as California has recently been hit with a post-Christmas coronavirus surge. As the risk of infection grows, Telehealth becomes more important for those needing care.
Hearing Care and Telehealth
So what can Audiologists do virtually for hearing care patients? While we cannot do everything we can do at the office, we can make a number of necessary programming adjustments. First, a list of the things we cannot accomplish in a remote session:
- Visual inspection of hearing aids
- Professional cleaning of hearing aids
- Otoscopic examination of the ear canals
- HIT box testing to measure how well hearing aid is performing
- Real Ear Measurements to verify programming to targets
Even though we cannot do everything we can do in person, we are able to take care of one of the most common reasons for a follow-up visit: a programming adjustment. Our estimate is that approximately 1/3 of follow-up visits are for simple programming adjustments to the hearing aids.
Hearing Aids with Remote Programming
Many of today's newest hearing devices come with remote programming capabilities. Here is a list of the most popular hearing aids with remote programming (telecare) options.
Oticon OPN S
Using Oticon's RemoteCare App (iOS, Android, iPad), we can make many of the same programming adjustments that we would in the office. You can learn more about the Oticon OPN S here.
Starkey recently launched their Hearing Care Anywhere feature, which works through the patient's Thrive app on their smartphone. It is available on the Livio, Livio AI and Livio Edge AI products and comes standard with all technology levels. You can learn more about Starkey Livio here.
Widex makes connecting to Moment hearing aids easy and remote hearing aid adjustment possible through their Widex Remote Care app. Learn more about the Widex Moment hearing aids here.
Resound Assist is accessed through the Resound Smart 3D App. It allows us to send new programming instructions to your smartphone, which are then downloaded to your hearing aids. Learn more about Resound One here.
If you or a loved one are interested in remote hearing care, please contact our office in La Canada today. We'd be happy to talk to you about your options and what might work best for your situation.