In the last couple of months, our world has changed completely. In the age of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, providers and patients have been pushed to find solutions while maintaining a safe distance from one another. Terms such as Telehealth, Teleaudiology, and remote programming have been used more than ever and manufacturers are scrambling to add more features to more hearing instruments in order to fill the need of long-distance hearing healthcare. Remote programming and Telehealth have been around years before COVID-19 came around, manufacturers such as Resound, Signia, Oticon, Widex, Starkey, and Phonak all offer a type of remote session with your hearing healthcare specialist, to a varying degree. In the past month there has been great improvement in the overall function of these remote sessions, for example, Starkey offered remote programming only in their premium technology level but has updated all levels of technology to include this function.
How does remote programming work?
All hearing aids that have a remote programming function will need to connect to an app either on your smartphone or tablet, once you've scheduled a time with your provider they will connect to your hearing aids while you're on the app and make any changes to your hearing aids you may need. For brands such as Resound and Signia, a request is sent to the provider through the app and the hearing healthcare provider sends back the changes according to what you have described to the app in the form of an update, that update is downloaded to your hearing aids with a push of a button.
You may have hearing aids that offer the ability to do remote programming, if you are not sure, call your provider to find out and they can help you activate this feature. Telehealth and remote programming may be the new normal for the time being. The good news is, even under a stay at home order you are not alone and your hearing provider can still help you with any adjustments you may need. This can be especially helpful for those looking to purchase new hearing aids during this time. After an audiometric evaluation, you have the same access to your provider for minor adjustments that you would have in the office, however, remote programming now allows you to stay home and stay safe. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about remote programming, we encourage you to give us a call!