Using Living Well and My World to Explore Wireless Tech
Mon Feb 23, 2015 09:02 AMBy Amanda Farah Cox
As hearing aids become more sophisticated, so does the technology that supplements them. But how do patients and their audiologists know if this added tech is helpful for the hearing aid user? In her recent article for Seminars in Hearing, “Benefits of Integrating Wireless Technology with Hearing Instruments,” Carrie Spangler, AuD, describes using Ida’s Living Well and My World tools with patients to find what important situations they have difficulty hearing in. Using the tools led to suggesting wireless technologies as one of the strategies for improving their hearing. “Utilizing the Living Well and My World tools allows the patient and professional to enter into a dialogue of what is important, what are barriers, and problem solve together on how to overcome those barriers,” she says via email. “Wireless technology often becomes ONE of the solutions to communication barriers that patients are experiencing.” Carrie was one of our collaborators on the My World tool. In the article, she discusses the concept of Unified Communications (borrowed from the business world), which, in audiology, integrates wireless technology such as Bluetooth and FM systems with hearing instruments. “Part of living well with hearing loss is the ability of the patient to identify what is important and critical in their own life and how their hearing loss may be impacting their ability to participate in that particular activity,” she says. “Hearing aids and cochlear implants provide incredible access, however, there are many situation that patients need additional options to connect.” Carrie’s study included one pre-school aged girl, a teenaged boy, and a man in his late 50s. She recommended different technological add ons to each user based on their lifestyles: An FM system to help the pre-schooler in the classroom and on the soccer field; streaming and Bluetooth paired with an MP3 player to help the teenager enjoy his music; and a streamer with wired audio input to a headset to help the 50-something with conference calls at work. Though Carrie might suggest wireless technology, not every patient sees it as the right method for deal with their hearing loss. This is why she sees wireless tech as just one component of a tactic using a variety of communication tools. “Every patient is different in the strategies that they choose to adopt,” she says. “Some patients would rather try communication strategies before investing in the cost of technology. Other patients have the financial resources to invest in a variety of technology. As professionals, the ability to utilize these counseling tools provides a platform for walking through options, helping the patient to set goals, and guide in adjusting goals based on successes and challenges encountered.” You can download the full text of the article here.