Prescription Hearing can now offer quality care to patients through video chat sessions that make the process of hearing aids much simpler.
Jeff Arnold,Patch Staff
Posted Wed, Sep 28, 2022 at 9:05 am CT
Kristen Conners has worked as an audiologist for the past 25 years and says that technological advances have changed the way she works with patients experiencing hearing loss.
PALOS PARK, IL — In the more than 25 years that Kristen Conners has worked as an audiologist, the way that technology has changed the world of how people who live with hearing difficulties has shifted dramatically.
From the way that hearing aids look to the ways that hearing loss is treated, Conners – who owns Prescription Hearing in Palos Park — has watched as the world in which she works constantly evolves. But like in almost every aspect of life, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected patient care, which has led to technology again changing the way Conners does her job.
When the pandemic began more than 2 ½ years ago, how people communicate shifted to more remote opportunities. Teledoc appointments offered people the chance to see their personal physician without leaving their homes and provided medical advice just by sitting down in front of their computer, tablet, or by video chat on their cellphone.
Over that time, Prescription Hearing began offering their clients the same service by providing remote service for those who wear hearing aids. While the level of service at their Palos Park office didn’t change, Conners and her staff were suddenly able to assist patients with hearing aid fittings, adjustments, and hearing tests on a remote basis.
For Conners, the expansion of service simply proved to be the next chapter in an ever-evolving world of helping her patients hear better.
“It really benefits people of all ages that we see,” Conners said on Tuesday.
From younger clients whose busy work lives don’t afford them the chance to make or keep appointments to older residents who may spend their winters in warmer climates or who live in assisted living or nursing facilities, the remote services offered by Prescription Hearing have really made care more accessible.
Unlike in the past when even initial consultations required an in-person visit, changes in technology and the way hearing aid manufacturers operated allowed patients to set up teledoc appointments and do everything from home. Prescription Hearing is now among the hearing care providers that can offer start-to-finish services to patients remotely.
“It was eventually going to get to this point, but COVID really ramped (the process) up,” Conners said.
She added: “It’s just the way technology is changing and so you just have to keep up with the way the field is changing.”
In an ideal world, Conners said she still prefers to offer in-person care for patients. But now with the ability to do everything from hearing aid fittings to follow-up appointments and essentially in between on a remote basis, the services that Prescription Hearing offers have become more convenient for patients — all thanks to the technology that Conners and her staff have at their fingertips.
FaceTime video sessions still allow patients to get the level of 1-on-1 care they have grown accustomed to. And while some patients still prefer to see Conners or her staff in person, the teledoc appointments and remote service opportunities have simplified the process without losing the quality of services that Prescription Hearing offers.
Conners said she and her staff still use the same software that she would for in-person visits, which provides patients with the peace of mind knowing they are still receiving the same level of care. Conners still is programming hearing aids or making adjustments to them in the same way she normally would. The only difference is the location where her patients are receiving the care, again all thanks to improved technology.
Patients who use the remote services simply sync their hearing aids with their personal devices and Conners is able to make adjustments from her office just as if the patient was sitting in front of her.
Conners via video walks patients through how to properly fit hearing aids into their ears and how to adjust them so they are working properly. But nothing else – from the programming of the hearing aids to the sound quality that patients experience remains the same as part of the teledoc services.
“The technology is amazing to be able to provide this for people because it’s a game-changer for those patients that don’t have the time, who can’t come in, who need adjustments,” Conners said. “It just makes the process of getting hearing aids that much easier for them.”