What is remote support?
Remote Support Appointments are also know as “tele-audiology”, “remote care”, or even “remote support hearing care”. But, no matter what you call them, they boil down to an audiologist adjusting your hearing aids, without you needing to attend the clinic.
Sounds futuristic, but it’s real, and it’s available now!
Remote Support cannot occur until some clinic-based activities have already occurred. The things that are essential to conduct in the clinic are:
- Otoscopy – the ear needs to be checked for wax or obstruction
- A diagnostic hearing assessment, in a sound booth
- A hearing aid fitting (including placing a microphone down the ear canal to measure the amount of amplification that is being delivered)
- Adjustments to the physical fit of your hearing aids in your ears
- Pairing your hearing aids to your phone application, and pairing your phone to the clinic computer
After that, you will be set up for Remote Support.
What does a remote support appointment look like?
Remote support is provided through an App on your smartphone. The App connects your hearing aids back to our clinic computer, allowing us to make real-time adjustments. But don’t worry, we can’t do this whenever we wish to, you have to agree to us accessing your hearing aid settings remotely, every time.
When you have a remote appointment, it’s just like a real appointment. You will have a time arranged, that suits both you and your audiologist. Ahead of the appointment, if you haven’t had a remote appointment before, we will email you instructions describing how to get ready.
The most important part of a remote appointment is to be connected to a strong WiFi network. Then, once the audiologist has completed their previous appointment, you will receive a text to let you know that your remote appointment is about to start. At that time you:
- Open the hearing aid app
- Agree to allow the app to use your phones camera and microphone
- Tap accept when an incoming call comes through the app
- After a few seconds the video image is set up and you will be able to see us on your screen and we will be able to see you on ours. You are now connected.
- We will discuss how you have been getting on with your hearing instruments, and identify any situations that have arisen that require adjustment.
- We will then connect your hearing aids to our computer to make the appropriate adjustments. You will notice that your hearing aids will mute briefly during the connection process and while adjustments are subsequently being saved to the hearing aids. You will be able to see the status on your screen.
- Once we have completed the appointment and saved any adjustments to the hearing aids, we will end the session. A further appointment may be required either remotely, or in the clinic, and this will be discussed and arranged.
Why use remote support?
Covid-19 has accelerated the use of and highlighted the benefits of, remote appointments. We have been using them for the past twelve months, and have found the following benefits:
- They are time savers. You don’t have to drive across Auckland, look for a car park, wait in the waiting room, and after your appointment, drive home. Especially for what may be a very brief appointment!
- For those with transport issues, these problems are completely eliminated. You don’t need to catch buses or arrange a friend to bring you.
- If you are having trouble hearing in a particular location (eg, your local café), the appointment can be conducted while you are in that environment, and you can assess whether the changes are doing what you need them to.
- They are safe – no need to mingle with people in our building, they are carried out in the comfort of your own home
So, whether you need to, or whether you just want to, why not make your next appointment a remote appointment!