Technology at its best. Hearing instruments have evolved from a horn in your ear to a little computer that can store data and connect to your cell phone. Through your cell phone or your tablet we can then connect you directly to our office system. Amazing! Right?

You bet it is!

Starkey Hearing Technologies has been in business for 53 years (Our office for 52). Close to 10 years ago they developed hearing instruments that we could program or adjust through the T2 (touch tone system on your telephone). About seven years ago they developed with Apple the world’s first hearing instruments that could connect to your Apple iPhone and stream your phone call directly into your hearing aids. Now, technological developments allow for other Androids (specific models) to also connect and stream phone calls.

It really is a wonderful thing to hear your phone calls in both ears like you are listening through a headset. Very clear. I don’t have anyone who doesn’t love this feature. The connection to the phone also gives many other features like fall detection. It gives the patient some more control over adjusting your hearing instruments. You can fine tune for a specific environment or setting; when you get close to that place the hearing instrument will automatically adjust to the setting you made. This is without you touching the aid or your phone.

All of this is great stuff. But there is more ....

With this wonderful COVID-19 mess and “self-distancing,” it has become ever so necessary to be able to connect to our patients remotely. Even though patients coming into our office have to be emergency only, due to CDC mandates (and for the safety of our patients and staff), we can still adjust and problem solve through this remote connection. So yes, this is wonderful.

Originally, only the top level of the Livio line of Starkey Hearing Technologies Bluetooth hearing aids had remote programming capabilities. Last week, Starkey developed software that will allow all five levels of their hearing instruments to be programmed remotely. You do not have to purchase new hearing instruments to utilize this. If you have “Livio” hearing instruments that have been purchased within the last year and a half, then when you update the ‘Thrive’ app on your phone we will be able to provide a code to you to give us remote programming capabilities. It is simple.

If you have older instruments that may not be Bluetooth, never fear. If they are Starkey, then they would have “T2 on Demand” programming so we can also help you remotely. Thankfully, our office staff loves technology and has always jumped at the chance to learn fun stuff.

We are now utilizing Telehealth. This allows us to have face-to-face conversations and problem solve “in person.” How does this work? We set you the appointment (we discuss with you when would be a good time), then once we set the appointment in our system, you will get an email that you have a telehealth appointment with the date and time. The system will confirm to us that you got the email. Then, on the day of your appointment, about 30 minutes before, you will get an email to remind you that we will be “connecting” at the time of your appointment. Easy! We suggest that if your computer does not have a camera that you use your tablet or your phone. Our system is very simple as we researched several.

So along with “curbside” service to keep your hearing aids running, pick up supplies and do some simple programming, we offer remote programming capabilities. Telehealth is helping to keep us connected and provide hearing care to our patients.

A wise man once told me ... “if you are not moving forward, then you are falling behind!” Well, those of you that know us know that simply isn’t in the cards. If you need us, just call. We are available to help you. 385-3497. To Hear Better Is To Live Better!

Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.