As an essential service, Active Audiology remained open during COVID-19 but, as owner and principal audiologist Cris Ivanidis says, some patients neglected their hearing aid use or hearing issues because they weren’t interacting in person with others.
Cris says that the isolation and inability to engage socially impacted on everyone’s mental wellbeing.
“For those with hearing loss, this impact was felt even more deeply. Their only means of social communication via phone or Zoom was made even more difficult,” he explains.
“They weren’t able to rely on the visual cues you’d normally have in person. We found those with a hearing loss were even more isolated from their everyday activities and sounds.”
Audiologist Mey Chakouf had a client last year, for example, who found lockdown very isolating, affecting his hearing and use of hearing aids.
“Mr C from Hobson Bay loves to golf and used this as his regular catch-up with friends. His hearing aids were part of his ability to socialise and feel confident. During lockdown, he barely wore his hearing aids because he didn’t feel the need to,” Mey says.
“This led to his hearing getting worse. Within weeks, he was turning up the TV and starting shouting again because his brain had readjusted. When we saw Mr C, we explained how important it is to keep wearing hearing aids even when you’re alone because they keep the hearing pathways active in his brain.”
Another client, Mr T, knew in 2019 that he had a hearing loss and needed to do something about it. But he neglected it in lockdown last year.
“He worked from home and relied on his headphones when using the computer for Zoom meetings,” Mey says.
“Once lockdown finished and he was back in the office, he struggled with big group meetings and phone calls.
“He shared with us his frustrations and embarrassment when he was in group situations and had to make decisions when he’d only heard parts of the relevant information.
“We’ve since fitted him with hearing technology that’s changed his work life. Everything is clearer. He realised it was never about turning up the volume but more about hearing clarity in group conversations.”
Mey says that there is significant data to show that healthy hearing keeps your brain functioning and ageing well, adding that when you deprive your hearing pathways of sound, your brain changes.
Active Audiology offers affordable technology, with devices very small in size but powerful in sound quality. These amazing devices can be given a week’s free trial run – call the clinic for an appointment.
Active Audiology, 17 Harrington Square, Altona. Inquiries: 9398 333 or www.activeaudiology.com.au