When COVID-19 hit the U.S. hard in March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning recommending all people over the age of 60 stay home as they fall in the high-risk category. 

Unfortunately, the majority of patients with hearing loss are also over the age of 60. Specifically, one in three people aged 65 to 74 experience hearing loss, and nearly half of all people over 75 experience hearing loss.

While COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions have eliminated most regular doctor appointments, most hearing clinics have adopted new ways to serve the hard of hearing community. Whether you're a regular customer with hearing aids or thinking about purchasing some, here's how you can access hearing aid support without contact.

How to Initiate a Hearing Aid Consultation

Before COVID-19, you would have scheduled a live appointment to consult an audiologist at a clinic. During the appointment, you'd take a hearing test to understand what kind of solutions work best. 

Things have changed. Today, to make the process contactless, you can consult with the hearing aid specialist over the phone or through telehealth services. Common telehealth platforms include Zoom and Doxy.me, both of which are user friendly. 

You can also do a hearing test online rather than coming into the office for the test. If anything, the restrictions of COVID-19 have made it easier than ever before to get started with hearing aids.

Conducting Hearing Aid Fittings

Once you get your test results back, the doctor can send you a set of hearing aids to wear, which you can try out for a certain amount of time risk-free. 

Once you receive the hearing aids, it's essential to have a doctor adjust both the fit and the sound levels to your comfort.

Before the pandemic, a hearing aid fitting would usually mean weekly or monthly meetings at the doctor's office. Now, many clinics offer curbside support. You can now pull up in your car and talk to a physician in a neighboring car to adjust your hearing aids. 

Many hearing aid brands now have monitoring apps that allow physicians to adjust the settings remotely, further reducing contact. This way, neither the patient nor the physician are exposed, and you can still have your hearing aid properly adjusted.

If the physician can't adjust your hearing aid from their car, they can take the hearing aid into the clinic, adjust it, and return it to your car.

It's important that you consult with your physician and work to make it fit comfortably as research shows discomfort is one of the top reasons people give up on hearing aids.

You can also continue to meet with your doctor through telehealth sessions.

How to Care For Your Hearing Aids

Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it more difficult to access hearing aid repair as shipping is slower, and teams are understaffed. Therefore, people may be neglecting the care of their hearing aids. 

If you don't have rechargeable hearing aid batteries, immediately remove dead batteries. Dead batteries tend to swell, and as they swell, it becomes more difficult to remove them. This can ultimately damage the hearing aid itself.

Additionally, consider purchasing a dry box for your hearing aids. Humidity is a leading cause of hearing aid damage, and it's also easily avoidable. Never store your hearing aids in a bathroom or anywhere else that is humid.

Finally, keep your hearing aids clean and be sure to either purchase wax guards or filters. If you try to clean the wax with your hands, you risk rubbing the wax deeper into your hearing aid. 

Conclusion

If you struggle with hearing loss, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to acquire hearing aids during the pandemic. Thanks to new technology advancements, you can now be fitted for hearing aids 100 percent touch-free.