Depending on which state you are in, you may be witnessing record spikes in new cases. Businesses are once again being told to shut their doors. Panic and worry continue to be palpable emotions as this intangible tyrant wreaks havoc on life as we knew it. And you thought 2020 was going to be a magical year. Welcome to the 21st century plague!
It has been proven that hearing loss can cause loneliness and depression. Times like these can only make those conditions worse. Frustrations from not being able to hear the news or a discussion concerning the latest about Covid-19 are bound to build.
With a cure or vaccine seeming months from becoming a reality, let alone becoming approved for public use, businesses must hunker down and discover new ways to provide products and services to their clients because hearing health patients need the services you provide more than ever and the assurance that you’ll be available.
If one thing Covid-19 has taught us is that change is inevitable. But as times and circumstances change, it doesn’t have to create a negative impact on your practice. Here are five tips to help you stay Covid-19 proof and be more available for your patients.
This tip is first because it’s so obvious. Remote hearing services uses videoconferencing technology, which enables your patient to speak with an audiologist. Video conferences allow for lip-reading for your patients, along with a reassuring smile. Through telehearing you lower a patient’s risk of contracting Covid-19 by limiting the amount of people in your office while providing the same quality service. You can advise your patients to use Skype, which provides a free video calling service and live captions for all follow up calls. This will ensure that any gaps missed during the live conversation will be captured.
Offer Curbside Services
Curbside services are the next best thing to remote services because there is less contact than an in-patient visit. Offering drop-off and curbside services allows you to observe the social-distancing measures put in place while providing a convenient way for your patients’ needs to be addressed. Be sure to suggest options to your patients. For instance, if the visit is for a quick repair, you can set up designated parking spaces so they can wait in the car until the repair is finished. If the repair is larger or should your patient wish not to stay, your receptionist can schedule pickup and delivery times.
The pandemic has made shipping, like everything else, challenging but that is no reason to start to get low on supplies in your office. With new lockdown restrictions being put in place every day to quell the resurgence of new cases, your patient should have enough hearing batteries to maintain functionality of their devices for two months. Keeping hearing batteries on hand in your office will assist them in getting batteries should they be unable to get them from the pharmacy or if their home delivery service runs out of stock.
Suggest a Backup Hearing Device
In a time when information is critical, the last thing your patient needs is for their device to stop working. When reaching out to your patients suggest they invest in a backup hearing device. Should their device stop working and they’re unable to purchase a new device immediately, suggest a smartphone amplifier such as Ear Machine. This app, and others like it, allows you to use your smartphone and a pair of headphones to amplify sound. A pocket talker can be purchased over the counter. These options work best for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss but can provide some measure of relief in a crisis.
Communication Is Key
Communication goes a long way to maintaining a relationship with your patients which can help with retention. Try to schedule a video check-in with your patients once a month to check on their progress during this unprecedented time. The wearing of masks makes in-person conversations more challenging. Suggest your patients install a speech-to-text app on their phone or go old school by carrying a pen and paper. Another suggestion you can present to your patients is to make sure they have prepared a communication kit. Should your patient need medical attention or traveling away from home, a communication kit is essential to ensuring they will be able to listen and interact successfully. Their kit should consist of hearing aids, extra batteries, chargers and any additional communication devices. Advise your patient to call ahead if they’re going to a doctor. Should they be required to stay in the hospital, a sign to remind medical personnel of their hearing loss can also come in handy if it isn’t already written in their chart.
Whether you’re in quarantine or not, your practice is vital to the health and well being of many. By using these tips to protect the hearing health of your patients, you can help your business remain vital and possibly acquire a few new patients.
Your Hearing Network is a nationwide hearing healthcare network designed to connect patients with hearing loss to local providers.
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