Meeting Your Audiological Needs Today and Always
By Ellen Lafargue, AuD, CCC-A
I’m thrilled that you’re reading this post because that says to me you acknowledge the importance of learning about hearing health care. That’s a topic near and dear to my heart, so I applaud you!
As an audiologist for over 35 years, I’ve always recommended that people get a hearing test if they experience any issues related to their hearing. If you’ve depended on hearing to communicate for most of your life and you are now not hearing well, it’s so important to get a hearing test and receive treatment, if appropriate. Untreated hearing loss, over time, can lead to social isolation, an increase in falls and a host of mental health challenges, including cognitive decline. Treating the loss with hearing aids can help you stay safe and healthy, a fact now supported by research.
Today, as we experience the challenges of living through a pandemic, it’s as important as ever to address hearing needs promptly. At CHC-NY we understand that some of you may be reluctant to meet in person with your audiologist due to safety concerns. So I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on our in-office protocols to ensure your safety as well as share exciting news about expanded audiological services – including remote hearing testing and hearing aid fitting – now available at CHC-NY.
At CHC-NY we have made every effort to make our office a safe place for you to be. We have staggered our staff’s work hours so there are fewer staff members in the office and fewer people in our waiting room at any given time of the day. We sanitize our test rooms and all equipment between client visits. Some of our clients have requested to have the first appointment in the day so that no one has been in the test environment for at least 12 hours before; we can easily accommodate that request.
CHC, as you’d expect, supports the CDC recommendation to have faces covered during all interactions between people. However, we also understand the need for communication. Our staff, therefore, wears masks with a clear front whenever possible so that people who speechread (i.e., rely on the use of visual information in addition to hearing) can communicate more easily.
Whether it is a transparent mask or a standard one, we know that masks muffle the sound that is coming through. Ask your audiologist if your hearing aid can have an extra program that accentuates some of the sound lost by wearing a mask. A lot of people also find it is helpful to use a remote microphone. This is a small device that works with many hearing aids that you hand to the person talking to you. The sound travels directly to your hearing aids and can help a lot. Your audiologist can tell you if this is an option for you and what it would cost.
Making the Most of Your In-Office Visit
If you have decided you are ready to come in for an in-person hearing test, we are now scheduling a new pre-visit session conducted by video or phone for all annual hearing tests and first-intake appointments. This will give you and your audiologist a chance to connect before the in-person appointment and zero in on what your needs are. It will also help our audiologist prepare ahead to make your in-person appointment more efficient (e.g., If you want to try a hearing aid, we will have it available at your in-person appointment rather than requiring you to come back for a subsequent visit).
Getting Your Hearing Device Repaired
Need a hearing device repaired or a new earmold? There are several ways for you to connect with a CHC clinician who can help to repair, troubleshoot or clean your hearing aid or other type of hearing device. The options are:
- Schedule an appointment. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians who can help to get your device working properly and fitting comfortably. You can make an appointment by emailing email@example.com or by calling (917) 305-7766. Note that all services (including hearing aid repairs) are by appointment only. Currently, we cannot accommodate walk-ins because we need to be able to control the number of people in the office at any one time.
- Call ahead (NEW). If you do not need to see a clinician and are simply picking up a repair or other item that you can handle yourself, call us and let us know you would like to come in, and we can accommodate that request.
- Have device mailed to your home. In many cases we can mail your repaired device, earmold, or supplies to you. Shipping charges apply. Call or email us and we will let you know the details.
- Request curbside service (NEW). For those of you who are not comfortable coming into the office, but can drive to CHC’s building at 50 Broadway, we are excited to announce our new curbside service for a very select type of service. We know this is challenging, since we do not have a parking lot and cannot be responsible for finding you a parking space, but if you are willing to try it, so are we! We will do this by appointment only: Come to your car, retrieve your hearing aid, examine it at our office, and come back to your car to let you know what needs to be fixed.
New Remote Audiological Care
We understand that you might want to get that extra program or try out that remote microphone but you just aren’t ready to come into the office yet. Why not try a remote audiology appointment? All of our audiologists are working remotely on certain days and in the office on others. They can arrange a video call or a regular telephone call with you to go over some of your questions. If you have purchased a hearing aid from CHC and the aid is still in warranty, we will be happy to troubleshoot the aids remotely at no charge. For hearing aid programming changes, device consultations, repairs out of warranty or for those who have not purchased their aids through CHC, there is a nominal charge.
Here’s an overview of some of the NEW remote services available at CHC-NY:
Programming of hearing aids. Great news! Your CHC audiologist may be able to program your hearing aids remotely, depending on the make and model of your instruments. Newer devices by Oticon (Opn S), Widex (Moment) and Phonak (Paradise) offer this capability, so we recommend that you contact your CHC audiologist to see if remote programming could work for you. If you have older hearing aids and have been thinking about upgrading, now’s the ideal time. Order your new hearing instruments with remote programming capability by December 31, 2020, and receive a 25% discount at CHC-NY. (Please note this offer cannot be combined with other discounts.)
Online hearing screening. CHC now offers online hearing screenings! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a link to take a hearing screening using your smartphone or computer with your own headphones. You’re invited to share the link with any friends or family members who might have concerns about their own hearing. Please note that this is a hearing screening rather than a comprehensive audiological test and is appropriate only for adults who have not been previously diagnosed with a hearing loss.
At-home hearing test. If you previously had a hearing test at CHC and feel there may be some change in your hearing, we hope that you will make an appointment and come in for a complete hearing test. If you are not comfortable coming into the office, we can arrange to send you a special tablet that will allow you to do a partial hearing test from your home. With this information, we may be able to adjust your hearing aids if needed or make other suggestions allowing you to reconnect to those around you. Call or email us so together we can decide if this the right approach for you.
We Look Forward to Seeing You In Person or Virtually
I hope you see that CHC is here for you. If you have an idea of how we can help that we haven’t thought of, please email me at email@example.com I would love to hear from you. Above all stay safe, and stay connected!