How an iPad can be an incredibly useful tool for hearing aid practices
Hearing aid consumers are becoming more tech-savvy all the time, baby-boomers and younger patients are already using the latest gadgets in their everyday lives, so why not bring your consultation up to date with some new technology for your patient?
A tablet computer for the patient to use during consultations is potentially a great way to help them to understand their hearing loss, hearing aids and to keep them fully engaged in the process of improving their hearing.
The tablet could be used to show how the ear works or how hearing loss occurs. It could be used to demonstrate hearing loss to the relative or friend that has attended with the patient, giving them a real understanding or what their friend or spouse is dealing with. It can be used to show the patient their audiogram, giving them a better appreciation of why they hear some things better than others and how bad their loss is.
An iPad, or similar tablet, can help to break down an invisible barrier that I've sometimes felt is there when I'm a patient - the audiologist is working away at their computer and the patient's chair is either at the side of the desk or placed a little way away. There's sometimes a little bit of a disconnect when the audiologist is working and the patient can't see the computer screen or can't understand what's on it. If the patient had an iPad in their lap, they could see their audiogram, look at 3D views of hearing aids, look at pictures of people wearing the aids they might buy, even to see a simple view of their hearing loss and a guide to how the hearing aid will "fix" it then they'll feel less disconnected. They'll have something to do while the audiologist is tweaking programmes and making changes, the information in their hand might spark questions, help them to learn and give them a better insight into their new hearing aids.
Of course, not all of these things are available right now, but you can:
Show your patient their audiogram using this tool.
Show how the ear works with videos like this one.
Demonstrate hearing loss using something like this.
Earmeter is a patient engagement tool for hearing aid practices. It will help you to reduce patient cancellations, increase your patients' understanding of hearing loss and hearing aids, and encourage patients to be more involved in getting the most from their new aids.