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How can Teleaudiology Improve Care for Hearing Aid Users?

Thumper Johnson, MA, CCC-A/SLP

April 2, 2018

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Question

How has comprehensive remote fine-tuning, or teleaudiology, revolutionized the hearing care industry? 

Answer

When FaceTime was introduced, all consumers needed was a Wi-Fi or cellular signal to experience the world of their loved ones, whether they were ten or ten thousand miles away. Few at the time would have associated hearing care with innovation, but it was only a few years later when the hearing care industry launched hearing aids that could pair with a patients’ smart phone.

Recently, the industry took a quantum leap forward in innovation with the launch of comprehensive remote fine-tuning, or teleaudiology. Teleaudiology is another way in which the hearing care industry is breaking new ground in telemedicine, positioning itself as a thought leader in providing healthcare outcomes to patients regardless of their physical location. Teleaudiology allows for unprecedented level of control and interaction between the user and medial professional.

How can hearing aid wearers receive the same standard of care remotely as if they visited their hearing care provider’s (HCP’s) office? 

Advancements in hearing aid software and the smart phone applications with which they are compatible are easy to use and help create a convenient, secure environment for medical professionals and their patients. This leads to a better hearing care experience, more control over healthcare outcomes, and greater patient satisfaction.

Is comprehensive remote fine-tuning meant to replace in-person visits to users’ hearing care providers (HCPs)?  

It is understandable why some hearing care professionals might remain hesitant to embrace the new technology. Audiologists constantly pride themselves on the personal counselling and relationships they develop with patients through in-person office visits. Yet, in the same way FaceTime was not an attempt to replace physical interactions with loved ones, teleaudiology is not an attempt to replace person-to-person contact with an audiologist’s patients.

Teleaudiology acts as a supplement to these in-person visits - and in the way FaceTime connects us to those we care about when we are away – remote fine-tuning provides users with a unique opportunity to directly connect with their audiologist when there otherwise would not be one. In fact, remote fine-tuning creates a greater level of control and personalization over an individual’s hearing outcomes, and in some cases, it can sometimes be preferable to office visits, allowing patients to be fitted by their audiologists in real-time environments, rather than ones simulated in a clinic.

Society today is inter-connected through our devices, and while patients are more and more interested in how technology can give them greater control over their lives, they also still rely on expertise from trained professionals to achieve optimal hearing outcomes. With teleaudiology, patients get the best of both worlds – they can feel close to their audiologist without having to sacrifice time, money, or convenience, while audiologists can spend more time in the clinic focused on valuable counselling.

How is teleaudiology impacting the next generation of smart hearing aids? 

For years, experts have been telling the medical community that telemedicine is the future of caretaking. Now, the hearing care industry has brought comprehensive teleaudiology to improve a patients’ hearing outcomes. With that, a new future for the hearing care industry has been ushered in, setting the stage for the next generation of smart hearing aids. New improvements and advancements in products have proven time and time again that remote assistance can increase patient satisfaction, provide real-time feedback, and optimize how audiologists run their practices.

For more information, please visit www.resound.com or the ReSound Partner Page on AudiologyOnline.


thumper johnson

Thumper Johnson, MA, CCC-A/SLP

Director of Audiology, Mid Kansas ENT

Thumper Johnson, M.A., CCC-A/SLP is an audiologist and speech-language pathologist. She received a master’s degree in communicative disorders and sciences with dual emphasis from Wichita State University in 1989. She joined Mid-Kansas ENT in 1988 and became director of the audiology department in 1997. Thumper is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


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