Lead Patient’s to Embrace Amplification by Setting Example

Having lived in St. Louis for a collective ten years, the fact that Missouri is the Show-Me-State has really rubbed off on me.  Rarely will I buy something without trying it on or trying it out.  Thinking back to my clinical days as an audiologist, I wish I would have used the “let-me-show-you” approach much more with my patients, allowing them to experience the benefits of amplification, for example, rather than relying on talking about potential options via the more traditional “let-me-tell-you” technique.

This became even more evident when working a few years ago with the Washington University School of Medicine’s Adult Audiology Clinic in St. Louis on how to generate awareness and facilitate buy-in of assistive listening technology without investing a lot of time, money, and energy. We quickly learned that integrating technology within the daily operations of the clinical environment and allowing patients to naturally experience using the technology in a meaningful way was much more effective in communicating the benefits of amplification than what could have been achieved in a traditional one-on-one counseling session.  With that in mind, here to two inexpensive ideas for around $100 on how you can promote the benefits of amplification without a lot of effort.

TIP 1: Make a PockeTalker accessible in each of your counseling rooms to make communicating with your hearing-impaired patients easier. As audiologists we have all come across more than one instance where it was necessary to speak slowly and loudly to enable patients to better understand and hear the conversation. Rather than struggling through this process, putting a pair of headphones on the patient and asking “Can you hear me now?” will speak volumes in that short instance than any degree of counseling could. Furthermore, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) assures that individuals’ health information is properly protected in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.  When speaking loudly with hearing impaired patients, it is possible for individual identifiable health information to be overheard by patients in residing rooms or in the hall.  Investing in a few PockeTalkers for use in your clinic will certainly comply with HIPAA goals and requirements.

TIP 2: Install a Field Teleloop System in one of your counseling rooms to allow patients to experience the advantage of a t-coil equipped hearing instrument as well as the benefits of perhaps getting a room in their own house looped. The Field Teleloop System transmits sound from a TV or other sound source via a wire loop installed around the perimeter of the room.  For patients wearing t-coil equipped hearing instruments, simply turning the hearing instrument into the T or MT position will allow them to hear the TV or music coming from an iPod.  For non-hearing instrument wearers, they can still experience the power of the loop by having access to a personal listening device, such as the Comfort Duett, with a built-in t-coil for use with induction loop systems.

For more information on the PockeTalker and Field Teleloop System, contact customer service at Oaktree Products toll-free at 800.347.1960 or drop Oaktree Products an e-mail at otp@oaktreeproducts.com.  Check out both products via the Oaktree Products website.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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