Sivantos has just introduced the first comprehensive telehealth solution to enable both real-time video counseling and remote hearing aid adjustment with an audiologist over the internet. The new Signia myHearingTM app for IOS and Android smartphones allows the audiologist to check in with their patients, fine-tune their hearing aids, and monitor their progress, all without requiring an in-person appointment. The app also has built-in text messaging, which may be used by to initiate virtual appointments.
While most audiologists do their best to provide an appropriate hearing aid fitting on day one, the hearing aid fitting itself is typically considered just a starting point. After the hearing aid fitting, hearing aid users are typically scheduled for one or more follow-up visits to check progress, address issues, and make any necessary hearing aid tweaks. The first few visits are typically bundled into the cost of new hearing aids, and are considered essential for anyone wanting to get the most bang for their buck out of their new devices. But all too often buyers forego these free follow-up visits, either due to time constraints or neglect, missing an opportunity to receive important counseling, troubleshooting help, and hearing aid fine-tuning. Some consumers run out of patience with the process completely, with at least 1 out of every 10 having a hearing aid “in the drawer.”
Mobile Phone Healthcare Revolution
Sivantos, the German company behind of Signia (previously Siemens) hearing aids, is attacking the problem with its simple yet potentially life-changing mobile healthcare solution. “This technology helps bridge the critical time gap from when the patient first goes home with hearing aids to their first follow-up visit,” said Sivantos CEO Scot Davis. “This span is crucial because it often serves as the ‘make or break’ period when the patient is deciding whether to stick with hearing aids or whether to give up—oftentimes for good.”
The myHearingTM app works in conjunction with Signia’s TeleCare™ portal, a cloud-based professional portal that exchanges information with the app via end-to-end encryption and enables hearing care professionals to remotely adjust hearing aids and monitor patient progress. Patients download the app and connect to their professional’s portal during the initial office visit. The professional may then send hearing aid updates to the patient’s smartphone, which synchronizes the changes with the patients Bluetooth-connected hearing aids.
The app lets patients provide feedback on various listening situations and send daily satisfaction ratings back to their audiologists. The app also features step-by-step listening modules, status badges, frequently asked questions, a user guide, and various instructional videos.
Finally, the myHearingTM app also can be used as a wireless remote control for Signia hearing aids, allowing patients to adjust programs, volume, and even change the directionality of the hearing aids’ microphones.
“Adapting to modern hearing aid technology requires retraining your brain to hear, learning new technology, and adjusting daily routines,” Davis said. “The myHearing app and TeleCare portal ensure patients and hearing care professionals remain in contact so that questions and challenges can be readily addressed.”
The myHearing app is available as a free download on Google Play™ or the App Store®. The Signia TeleCare portal is also available for free to any licensed hearing care professional who dispenses hearing instruments. While they are optimized for Signia primax hearing aids, Signia claims both the app and portal can be used with other hearing aid brands.
About David Copithorne
David has been blogging about hearing issues for a long time. As someone who has progressed from mild to profound hearing loss, he has had a chance to experience almost everything that the hearing industry has to offer. He currently utilizes cochlear implants in both ears. Read more of David’s musings at the Hearing Mojo blog.
Last modified: November 2, 2016