CoVID19 and your hearing needs

Self-isolation, social distancing and shortage of toilet rolls are now common words in our vernacular. As everyone strives to keep the COVID19 virus from spreading, it’s important to keep your hearing, and yourself, actively engaged.

If you have a hearing loss, you may be at a much higher risk of contracting the virus. It’s well-known that hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression.

These factors have been shown to weaken the immune system. And those with a weakened or compromised immune system have a higher risk of catching this virus. We also know that cardiovascular disease is more prevalent in people with hearing loss, and this too presents a higher risk for catching COVID19.

Keeping these factors in mind, and following advice from our government, you also need to consider how you can access hearing services if required, and in the event you need to seek medical attention, how to ensure your needs are met.

Hearing Clinics

Many hearing clinics will be closing their doors temporarily in the coming weeks so it’s important to make contact with them now to see how you can access service, batteries and repairs for you hearing aids if required. 

Your hearing aids may be set up for virtual appointments so discuss this with your Audiologist or Audiometrist to see if this is an option for you.

If you’re not sure how to contact your Hearing Clinic, please call us here at Hearing Choices and we’ll follow them up for you to get the information you need.

Prepare and plan for receiving medical attention

Preparation is the key. If you do need to attend a medical centre or the hospital, and you’re prepared, you’ll more successfully navigate the situation. Hospitals and medical centres can be noisy and chaotic. You will want to hear what is going on around you and having a hearing loss can make this more difficult.

 You want to ensure you get the best treatment so take someone with you, who can assist with getting the right information and making sure you understand what’s going on. Masks will be common place so you won’t have access to communication information via lip-reading and facial expressions. We all use these cues, but often don’t realise it. Having a support person, with good hearing, will help in this situation.

Make sure you take your hearing aids, batteries, cleaning equipment and recharger if you have one, to the hospital. You may be discharged quickly, but if not, you want everything available to keep your hearing aids working. Wear your hearing aids as much as possible, while away from your home base, so you don’t lose them.

Most importantly, let the medical staff know you have a hearing loss. Ask for repeats if you don’t understand what’s being said or get them to write it down, particularly if you’re on your own. It might also be worthwhile to use a translator app on your phone (such as Google Live Transcribe or the Rogervoice app).

If you need to attend the doctor’s surgery or medical centre, and you don’t have COVID 19 symptoms, it may be easier to book online. Many centres have this option, some also now carrying out virtual appointments.

Examples of these online bookings and virtual appointments are Medinet and HealthEngine. If you do have COVID19 symptoms your treatment plan will be different and you need to inform the centre prior to attending.

Stay active and engaged

While you’re self-isolating, try to stay active and engaged with others. Technology is a wonderful way to do this. Apart from using FaceTime or Skype to chat to family and friends, you can download many apps on your smartphone. For example, there are plenty that can help with at-home exercising.

Here’s a list of six free exercise apps for the over 60s in Australia.

You can stay engaged in many ways and now might be the time to find an online course to study. There are many free ones and it’s amazing what you can learn. Yale has a number of online courses including The Science of Being Well. Or perhaps you’d like to learn how to illustrate plants and insects through Newcastle University. You might also like to learn a language. There’s a great podcast series called Coffee Break Languages where you have a large choice of languages to learn, broken up in to short learning segments. These are just a very small selection of what’s available out there.

Keep active, keep engaged, and stay well. And if you need to chat to us here at Hearing Choices, please reach out – we’re here to help.

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