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Why I think Telecare Audiology is Awful but unavoidable

Telecare Audiology

Telecare audiology is here and looks like it’s here to stay. I truly think it’s an awful idea but paradoxically I will embrace it and work with it. I also feel it’s the beginning of the end for us as a profession well certainly as we know it to be today.  

What is Telecare in hearing aids?

What is Telecare audiology exactly? Telecare audiology or remote fine tuning is basically having your hearing aids checked or adjusted by your hearing aid audiologist remotely. For example, if you are in a café and you are struggling to hear you could technically phone your audiologist or link to them using the hearing aid manufactures propriety software and your audiologist could make adjustments in real time. 

Another aspect of Telecare audiology is you can send your audiologist feedback with an app your audiologist can makes some changes, and these can be download to the hearing aid. This is good if like me you hate face time! 

Sounds good right? So Why do I hate it so much?

For me it’s another wrung in the anti-social ladder. Another problem that doesn’t really need solved, but we’ll solve it anyway. I live in a new build housing estate and it saddens me that people nowadays don’t really talk to one and other. It’s very real!! People cross the street to avoid saying hello!! Now of course that could just be me haha! But really people are glued to apps, phones and TV’s. It’s a daily struggle to encourage my kids off devices that numb their brain. We have to encourage them to make actual human contact. 

Modern playtime is a PlayStation connected to headsets that they talk to their friends on without actually seeing them! I feel like my own father ‘It was not like that in my day’. 

Telecare audiology is an extension of that. Let’s not have any human contact but do this remotely.  

Now I’m not blind to its benefits especially in Scotland where there are many remote patients, I also see the benefits of remote fine tuning as you can actually tune hearing instruments in situation and hopefully get better live results for your patients hearing aids BUT I can actually see businesses promoting this as a model. No need to come to us in Hamilton save the 2 mile journey from East Kilbride I’ll just connect you to your phone in your house and presto we solved the problem. 

What next?

Online hearing aid sales are inevitable. To stick your head in the sand when it comes to online hearing aid sales or over the counter hearing aids (OTC hearing aids) would be silly. Online hearing aids sales & over the counter hearing aids will I feel in their best incarnation come with Telecare where you need an audiologist if you choose to use one. The next evolution of the online hearing aid or over the counter hearing instrument or PSAP (Personal Sound Amplification Product) will be direct to consumer with the consumer able to self-test and self-adjust. They may even be able to look in their ears with a new device. The consumers will have a picture of what a normal ear drum looks like and be informed to self-refer if they don’t see this normal ear drum.  

We already see hearing aid manufactures playing with this model & the reality could be people like me are no longer needed.  

Sadly it’s a battle I don’t think we can win

Is the problem with the business that promotes this and consequently does well? No its not. The problem is with us and the way we are changing. More things need done now. We don’t have the time for this or that why leave the house if it’s not essential? 

I’m convinced we will evolve to have no legs and big huge eyes to gather more data. We’ll also evolve so we are somehow born remotely, a mother see’s her child for the first time through her phone! No need to go to the hospital to see the midwife we’ll store your child digitally and face time you when its ready. If you have a Hospital plus account, we will mail your new baby out next day delivery!

The Death of the High Street & the End of our profession

Finally (you’ll be happy to hear) we must accept the death of the high street if this pattern continues along all business models. Our need for services now and our addiction to phones and tablets means that more and more businesses have to close their doors each day. I used to Joke with friends that when 1984 from Orwell comes true it will not be the Government we have to bow down to but Tesco’s. This was at the time Tesco was buying everything in its wake. Today’s example would be Amazon or Google. I personally have 4 surveillance devices in my house from Amazon in the shape of an Alexa.  

You can now test your hearing with an Amazon app which has been inspired by the Hakim group. Can this lead to buying a hearing aid straight after the test? I think it will. 

As Darwin once said ‘It’s not the strongest who survive but those most adaptable to change’ 

Steven Ross (MSHAA, RHAD) 

58 Cadzow Street,

t:   01698 283549
m: 07340 746950

e: info@lanarkshirehearingcentre.co.uk