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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Our policy, our practice guidelines & advising those with hearing aids & hearing loss

By: Paul Harrison Updated: 16th March 2020 in: Latest News, Articles
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Our policy, our practice guidelines & advising those with hearing aids & hearing loss

Hearing Aid UK's Coronavirus Statement

24/03/2020 Update:  On Monday 23rd March the government announced greater measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19, therefore we have closed our centres and clinics temporarily until April 13th. This date will be reviewed again nearer the time in accordance with government guidelines.

All of our audiologists are still offering telephone support and various remote servicing options and if you wish to speak to us here, our phone lines are still open as usual on 0800 5677621

Statement from Paul Harrison - Founder of Hearing Aid UK

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Precautions:

Our policy, our practice guidelines & advising those with hearing aids & hearing loss

"At Hearing Aid UK, we want to reassure our customers that we are constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, taking the virus very seriously. Our audiologists already follow strict hygiene procedures, however we have implemented greater health and safety guidelines to increase patient safety.

We are offering our usual full service, with some caveats. You are able to contact us online and by phone and can still arrange for hearing tests and for any service you need, however we are limiting our clinic based appointments and mainly focusing on a home visit service as this drastically reduces the risk of exposure to the virus. 

Our network of audiologists are taking extra precautionary measures and we are keeping fully up to date with the government guidelines and are receiving regular updates for our healthcare professionals during this time.  We are all in this together - so let's support each other"

An Audiologist Coronavirus Policy Statement from Paul Harrison - Founder of Hearing Aid UK

Challenges

We are currently facing a virus that we don’t fully understand and with that comes uncertainty. As the government and authorities try to tackle the threat and manage its spread, it is important that we protect our more vulnerable patients whilst continuing to prove the support they need. There are some key points to consider and it is important to remember that people with hearing loss may face different challenges to those who do not. 

Safety precautions explained in detail

Some basic facts;

  • Home visits are safer than going into one of our branches or clinics.
  • Being medical professionals, audiologists suffering from any symptoms will not be working and will self-isolate. We have several audiologists in most areas of the country and the audiologists will be supporting each other to ensure that there are no gaps in service.
  • We are transparent and safety is our primary concern. When you speak to us over the coming weeks you can ask to see an audiologist that has already had the virus and is now better and we can contact you back when we are in a position to be able to offer you that option.

For those who have not had a hearing test before, here is a description of the hygiene side of the process.

Upon arrival and before proceeding with any tests or contact with you, the audiologist will scrub up and/or put on disposable medical gloves. Otoscopy involves touching your ears, as does placing the headphones on you in order to do the test. Once testing is complete the audiologist will again wash their hands and will not come into physical contact with you further.

All equipment is thoroughly cleaned using specialist medical cleaning products designed for the purpose, prior to being used for any other patient. This is standard practice for all audiologists anyhow so we are used to following a strict hygiene routine.

Hearing aid problems & our practice guidelines

If you are faced with a problematic hearing aid and you have self-isolated yourself during this time, please remember that isolating yourself doesn't have to mean you should feel isolated - please call us or your local audiologist for any advice or support.  We always want you to hear your very best.

The various hearing aid manufacturers have already brought in new procedures. For hearing aid repairs, it is usual that you would have to see an audiologist to diagnose the problem and for them to take the decision to send the aid into the manufacturer for repair if needed. If you do not wish to see the audiologist in person, they are now allowing you to send the hearing aid directly into the relevant repair department yourself. Please do contact your audiologist first for them to guide you through the process.

Like with all hearing aid issues, there are a few things you can do at home.  The first point of call is to check the wax guard.  If this guard is blocked with wax – the sound generally can’t get through.  For those who wear RIC hearing aids with a silicone end, take off the tip and check for any excess wax build-up and then check the wax guard.

If this is the case, then remove the current one and replace it with a new one.  Once this is done you should see a huge difference in the sound you hear.  If the problem isn’t resolved by doing this, then try changing the battery.  Occasionally a new battery can be faulty and therefore not last as long as it should.  If this step doesn’t work, then check the microphones on your hearing aids and check for any blockages there.  If they seem to have gathered dirt – then brush this away.

If these ‘rule of thumb’ troubleshooting methods don’t work, please call us or your local audiologist to arrange for them to guide you.  If you are concerned about social exposure, then we endeavour to look into other ways in which we can help solve your hearing aid issues.  

Hearing aid maintenance whilst in self-isolation:
Simple step-by-step maintenance tips for each hearing aid style

To make the above steps more transparent – here is a breakdown for each style of hearing aid:

Receiver in the ear (RIC)

  1. Take off the silicone end and clean the dirt away
  2. Check the wax guard and change if it is dirty
  3. Change the battery
  4. Brush the dirt away from the microphones
  5. Call your audiologist

In the ear (ITE)

  1. Check the wax guard and change if it is dirty
  2. Change the battery
  3. Brush the microphones free from any dirt
  4. Call your audiologist

Behind the ear (BTE)

  1. Check the tubes for any blockages and clean if necessary
  2. Brush the microphones free from any dirt
  3. Change the battery
  4. Call your audiologist

Remote telecare

During the last few years, this sort of hearing aid service has become more popular as a go-to hearing aid feature.  The hearing aids of today, certainly in the last couple of years, should include remote telecare.  You may want to call your audiologist to discuss activating this feature, as you might find it useful.  However, you must keep in mind that using this digital service will not solve all hearing aid problems that may occur.  It just means that some in-person appointments can be kept to a minimum.

If you would like to talk to one of our audiology experts about your up and coming appointment, your hearing aid issues or any other concerns, please call 0800 567 7621 and we will be happy to help you and put your mind at rest.  

10 easy at-home methods to keep your hearing aids in good shape

  1. Handle your hearing aids with care at all times
  2. Wash your hands before you touch your hearing aids
  3. Keep your hearing aids in a safe place when you are not wearing them
  4. Ensure you turn off your hearing aids when you are not wearing them
  5. Get into a daily routine of cleaning your hearing aids
  6. Regularly clean filters and guards to avoid dirt build-up
  7. Avoid wearing your hearing aids when you shower, swim or use a hairdryer
  8. If you wear makeup and hair spray - use before you put on your hearing aids
  9. If you find any water on your hearing aids - wipe away carefully with a dry cloth
  10. Invest in a hearing aid dehumidifier to remove unwanted moisture from your hearing aids

Support at a glance

Our email -  [email protected]

Our contact number –  0800 567 7621

Coronavirus update - World Health Organisation (WHO)

Audiology news for consumers - British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA)

Hearing Aid UK's helpful articles

Hearing Aid Maintenance - Hearing Aid Maintenance Tips From Our Experts

Earwax - The good and the bad: Everything you need to know about earwax

Audiologist Support - 7 Things an Audiologist Can Do For You

Home Visits - Six Reasons People Prefer Home Visits For Their Hearing Aid Care

 

Stay safe from Coronavirus - Opt for a home visit

"Hearing Aid UK offer home visits to all of our clients – free of charge. Following recent advice from the government, we are recommending that clients do not travel to their audiologist’s clinic or shop. Our audiologist can and will come to you. As healthcare professionals, we continue to use best practices regarding hygiene in order to protect all our clients"

For further information, including online appointment for remote adjustment of hearing aids, home hearing tests and the best procedure for repairs, please read more here.

Updated Coronavirus Policy Statement from Paul Harrison - Founder of Hearing Aid UK

 

 **We will update this article as and when we get new information from the authorities, government and the audiology industry**

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