What to expect at your hearing healthcare appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Our hearing is essential. Our ability to hear makes it easier to stay connected to loved ones and the world around you, as well as helps you stay safe, healthy and independent. Hearing professionals assist those with hearing-related conditions by providing solutions for people to hear their best. Although hearing healthcare has been considered an “essential service” through this pandemic, many people have still put off getting help for their hearing loss in order to limit exposure and stay safe.

 

Local governments and Health Canada have provided a number of recommendations on how to slow down the spread of COVID-19. As you’ve begun venturing out into your communities once again, you may have seen certain measures being implemented in places like grocery stores and restaurants. Your hearing clinic is no different! Hearing professionals across the country are resuming their operations and adapting to our “new normal”. Whether your preferred clinic is a large medical centre or a smaller, local clinic, new safety protocols have been put in place to keep patients, staff and communities safe.

 

Here is what you may expect when you go back to your hearing professional’s office for your next appointment:

New health and safety protocols

You can expect your hearing clinic to have new health and safety policies in place. Some of these policies may include the following:

  • Clinics may be open by appointment only. Walk-ins may be unavailable, so calling ahead and booking a designated spot will ensure you get the service you need
  • Waiting rooms may be closed and the number of people allowed in the office may be limited. You may be asked to call the office when you arrive and wait in your car until you’re asked to come in for your appointment.
  • You may be asked to wear a mask at all times when in the office. Your hearing professional will likely be wearing one the whole time too!
  • You may be asked to keep a 2m physical distance when possible
  • Physical barriers like glass dividers may be placed at reception or other areas throughout the office to limit contact
  • You may be screened for any signs of illness, including asking if you have experienced any COVID-19 related symptoms. Some clinics may require you to take your temperature before coming into the office.
  • Loved ones may not be allowed to accompany you to your appointment.
  • You may be asked to wash or sanitize your hands multiple times throughout the appointment.
  • The office may be configured differently to allow for physical distancing. Movement throughout the office may also be restricted.
  • Checkout procedures may be handled over the phone and payments, if applicable, may be restricted to credit cards.

Close up of person in blue gloves with a spray bottle in left hand cleaning a surface

Curbside and telehealth services may still be available

Although hearing professionals are taking multiple safety procedures noted above, they may also still be offering contactless service, such as telehealth consultations, virtual visits, curbside service, delivery options or drop-off/pick-up of hearing aid supplies.

Remote programming may also be available! With Livio Edge AI, Livio AI and Livio hearing aids, your hearing professional can make adjustments to your hearing aids remotely, so you don't have to come in for an office visit. 

What can you do before your appointment

  • Call your hearing professional ahead of time to discuss your needs and your preference for receiving service. They will let you know the best options to meet your needs.
  • If you have it available, bring your own hand sanitizer and masks.
  • Familiarize yourself with the policies put in place at your local clinic before attending your appointment. Check your hearing clinic’s website or give them a call to see which policies they have put in place. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these to keep everyone safe.

What can you do at your appointment

  • Remember to be patient if your clinician is running a little behind schedule. Keep in mind that they are required to thoroughly clean and sanitize every surface and all equipment after each patient.
  • Be proactive when following health and safety protocols. Ensure you are keeping your mask on at all times, sanitizing your hands frequently, and keeping your distance when possible.

As of now, we don’t know how long these measures will be in place. Moving forward, they may be part of our new way of life. Being prepared for your appointment and knowing what to expect can help ease any fears or anxiety around visiting your hearing professional.

If you’re looking for a new, local hearing clinic for your next appointment, we can help you find one – click here.

By Starkey Canada

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