Blog: How our audiology clinic is making communication easier
By Frazer Paterson
Audiologist, Almond Hearing
Audiologist Frazer Paterson shares how his private audiology clinic in Scotland has adapted to barriers presented by the Coronavirus pandemic and sought to make communication easier for his clients who rely on lipreading.
Hands. Face. Space. Three words we are all reminded of regularly as the UK Government advice for reducing the spread of Coronavirus.
As audiologists we are acutely aware how detrimental the removal of lipreading and visual clues, and the increase of distance between speakers, has been for people with a hearing loss during the pandemic.
It has been impossible for some, but we have learned how we can adapt our practices from a chance connection through social media with Living with Hearing Loss campaigner Amy Morton.
Amy, a hearing aid user living with a severe hearing loss since childhood, told us how even the simplest tasks like the school run had become stressful. Since face coverings and masks have become mandatory, it raised fears of not being able to talk easily with other parents who were wearing masks.
We have been delighted to be able to support her quest to enable customer service businesses across the UK to offer themselves up as lipreading-friendly and support her to educate establishments about the face covering exemptions associated with hearing loss.
We proudly display her Living with Hearing Loss signage in our clinic (see below) to give confidence to our clients and hope to spread the message further in Scotland.
At our practice Almond Hearing, we pride ourselves on creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for someone to consult on their hearing.
We had to take steps to ensure our house was in order. We introduced ClearMask, which is a fully transparent face covering, and allows the person relying on lipreading to see our facial expressions during a consultation. We have been delighted with feedback from use of the ClearMask.
We also are huge advocates of Roger, and all remote microphone technology, to overcome the enforced increase in physical distancing. We make this available during our appointments for clients and discuss it as a potential solution at every fitting.
The pandemic has also questioned the audiologist’s way of working.
Whilst we love to see our clients in person, tele audiology has reduced the need for face-to-face contact.
This poses some exciting opportunities for future interactions between client and audiologist and how hearing aids can be adjusted.