Hearing Healthcare – an Essential Service
A number of states across Australia are in lockdown and citizens are advised to follow their state’s rules in regards to what services they can, and cannot access, within these guidelines.
There may be some confusion, particularly around non-emergency health services. Hearing healthcare is one area that may be lacking in clarity, but yes, hearing healthcare is an essential service.
Care for people who have hearing loss is considered important and if you feel your hearing levels are not what they used to be, you should be assessed in a timely manner.
What is also important to note, particularly if you are apprehensive about going out and visiting your hearing clinic, is that once you’ve been assessed and fitted with any required device, all other appointments can generally be carried out via telehealth or Remote Care technology.
Essential hearing care
When accessing hearing health care in times of the pandemic, it’s good to be reassured of the infection control measures the clinic you are attending is following.
All registered hearing health practitioners must follow the COVID-19 infection control procedures. If you feel unsure of the protocols in the hearing clinic you can ask your clinician of the procedures being followed.
If you are experiencing difficulty with hearing and communication you should attend the hearing clinic.
Some of the reasons to attend are:
Sudden hearing loss – if your hearing has suddenly deteriorated, particularly in one ear, you should get it assessed immediately. Some sudden hearing losses are caused by infections in the inner ear or other unknown causes. If action is taken quickly, treatment may be available to reverse the hearing loss.
Maintain good hearing health – if you or your significant others have noticed your hearing has deteriorated and you’d decided to get your hearing assessed, do it! Don’t put it off because you’re in lockdown. The link between unaided hearing loss and dementia is growing stronger with more and more research confirming this association (read Hearing loss: One of 12 modifiable factors for dementia to find out more). Maintaining good hearing health, even during a pandemic, is important in sustaining your overall health.
Isolation through hearing loss – being in extended lockdown, especially if you live alone or in an isolated situation, is an essential reason to have your hearing tested. If you rely on contact via phone or video calls and your hearing is compromised, isolation can be exacerbated, which is not good for mental health. Staying connected to loved ones during times of hardship is vital to your well-being.
Hearing device fitting – Once you’ve had your hearing assessed, and you have decided on your hearing device, you need to be fitted so you can move forward with your hearing augmentation. One hearing manufacturer, Widex, has developed a system where once you’ve had your hearing assessed, you can get fitted with your hearing aid remotely, meaning one less face-to-face visit to the hearing centre.
This may be an option your audiologist or audiometrist offers, so talk to them about it to see if would suit your hearing needs. Or you may be after a ‘ready to wear’ device once you’ve had your hearing assessed. Signia has such a hearing aid so you can have your hearing assessed and device fitted at the one appointment.
Whatever the reason to attend your hearing clinic, make sure you keep your appointment, as optimising your hearing health will enable you to stay connected.
This will help you through the hardships of lockdown, enabling you to keep communicating with family and friends, and be an integral part of any interaction allowed.
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