“I was planning to see an audiologist about my hearing loss, and then COVID-19 put my plans on hold! Is now a good time to reschedule my appointment? My hearing definitely needs help, but I don’t want to take any undue risks with my health.”
Dr. Meyer’s Answer:
While there’s no easy one-size-fits-all answer to this question, I can tell you that hearing health care professionals have reopened their doors and are caring for their patients effectively and safely.
Before rescheduling your appointment, inquire about the protocols your provider has adopted to protect the health of patients and staff. Most offices are taking a multipronged approach that includes the sanitation of surfaces between appointments, frequent handwashing and social distancing, as well as the use of disposable items, face masks, clear plastic barriers and personal protective equipment.
You may also want to ask whether the provider offers certain services via “telehealth” (e.g. by phone, video chat or remote connection). Keep in mind that telehealth may reduce the number of in-person visits, but it won’t eliminate them entirely.
By the way, many providers now wear special “communicator” face masks when interacting with patients. The masks feature a fog-resistant clear window over the mouth area — a benefit if you supplement your hearing with lip reading.