Assistive devices enhance communication

Hearing instruments are designed for enhancing speech communication from person to person; however, there are some environments and situations in which, even with good devices, patients may continue to struggle based on their hearing impairment. These situations can include non-face-to-face communication (like in a car), communication at a long distance or in a large group, and while watching television or talking on the telephone. Patients may need to use other assistive devices in conjunction with hearing aids to enhance communication in these areas.

Hands-free connectivity simplifies communication

As patients age, keeping in contact with their loved ones who might live far from them becomes increasingly important. These relationships can often depend solely on telephone communication. Sometimes, with physical limitations and mobility difficulties, patients have a hard time getting to their telephone in a timely manner to answer a call. With the inclusion of wireless technology, the individual can answer their landline or cellular phone with the simple click of a button — without the need to pick up the handset! This allows the patient hands-free communication; their telephone sends a signal into both of their hearing aids at the same time.

Technology connects people

We know that hearing equally well through both ears helps enhance the overall quality of speech, and wireless accessories help in doing just that. The development of Bluetooth® and other wireless technology connecting patients to their TVs, cell phones, landline phones, and long-distance conversations has increased patients’ ability to hear and understand clearly in difficult listening situations.

If watching television is of great importance to a patient, the Medialink TV adapter and Surflink Mobile allow the patient to hear television in both hearing instruments simultaneously, and they allow their friends and family to listen to their television at a normal listening level. While listening to TV, the patient can also communicate with everyone else in the room, feeling engaged in conversation. This increases the patient’s ease of understanding their television programs.

With the Surflink Mobile and Medialink microphone, users can improve their understanding of speech at a distance. Likely uses include communication in a meeting or a religious service, or when a companion is not facing them, such as in the car. This discreet microphone aids the patient in difficult or noisy listening environments by simply pushing a button.

Training is key

Training the patient and their loved ones in how to utilize the new accessories is essential to their success. It is imperative that the patient is comfortable using the assistive devices in their everyday lives, and training with a doctor of audiology will increase comfort and success with these devices.

As an AudigyCertified™ professional, providing unsurpassed patient care is always my standard. These user-friendly devices allow the audiologist to address patients’ concerns in all aspects of their everyday life and to aid in overall success and satisfaction with their hearing instruments. As part of my consultation process, I demonstrate better listening through the wide range of accessories in the office so that patients experience the positive impact it may have firsthand, before making the decision to purchase.

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