During the pandemic, the safety restrictions placed on senior living facilities, and seniors in general, have severely limited or eliminated social interactions with family and peers. This type of isolation can produce changes in communication and can lead to anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, during this time older adults who have been successful hearing aid users may be using their hearing aids less because they feel there is no one to interact with. According to the American Academy of Audiology, this will result in reduced sound input to the brain and can result in auditory deprivation. The individual will be perceived as not hearing as well and needing to use extra effort when communicating.
The Academy states that family members and friends should encourage their loved ones to continue to use their hearing aids every day, even if they can’t have in-person visitors. There are still sounds around their home or in the environment that they can listen to and enjoy.
Hearing aids require ongoing maintenance and, for some individuals, their hearing aids may not be functioning well or at all. Fortunately, Associated Audiologists is following all CDC precautions, and also is providing curbside care for individuals who may not be comfortable with an in-person visit. Some senior living facilities are allowing audiologists to come into their buildings after they have had a temperature check and/or met CDC criteria.
Many simple hearing aid problems can be solved via a curbside care visit. For some individuals with milder hearing loss, who felt like they could communicate adequately, the addition of masks or online communication may have stressed their hearing and they may seem now like they’re having more difficulty hearing. These individuals may want to access a clinic in person to begin the process of obtaining appropriate amplification that can assist them in their day-to-day communication situations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Associated Audiologists team implemented two new services that have become very popular.
- Curbside drop-off/pick-up for hearing aid repairs by appointment. A staff member can come to your car to pick your hearing aids up, and will return them promptly while you wait.
- After-hours drop boxes are located at all of our clinics in case you need to leave your hearing aids for service or repairs when the clinic isn’t open.
We also still offer Urgent Ear Clinic repairs and service to keep your hearing aids functioning, plus:
- Phone or email assistance/consultations.
- Shipping for repaired hearing aids, batteries, accessories and supplies.
So continue to wear your hearing aids, no matter what the circumstances. They can help your hearing to remain sharp, and if you need help, know that it’s available.
Call the clinic where we see you so we can determine the best way to help you, and to verify staff availability before coming in or schedule an appointment.