Hearing Innovation – Improving Healthcare for Canadians

Canadian AudiologistThe majority of older adults with mild hearing loss are unaware of it, a startling fact that can have an impact on a person’s wellbeing. The social and health consequences related to hearing loss are many including fatigue, anxiety, social isolation, depression and dementia.

Historically, non-specialists have assessed hearing ability subjectively, for example, by using the whisper or finger rub test. Furthermore, we know screening for hearing loss as well as providing timely and appropriate referrals are important, yet not always routinely practiced in primary care. Given a large number of older adults with hearing issues and the lack of assessment through primary care, we know a new model for hearing care delivery is needed to improve health outcomes for Canadians.

Mobile hearing screening technologies have emerged on the market over the past several years. They put technology in the hands of non-specialists and provide an easy-to-use, objective assessment of hearing that helps make non-specialists allies to hearing healthcare professionals.

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How a CHEO surgeon’s idea is changing hearing testing in the North

The Ottawa Citizen Logo

The idea first came to Dr. Matthew Bromwich while on his annual visit to treat children in Iqaluit.

Many of the patients the CHEO ear, nose and throat specialist and surgeon saw in the North — where children suffer hearing loss at three times the national average — needed hearing tests. That often meant flying them and their families down to Ottawa because no audiologist was available in Iqaluit.

To 44-year-old Bromwich, who has been described as an “ideas factory,” it was a problem begging for a solution.

“I said: ‘Why can’t we fit something in a shoebox and send it up and do testing there?’”

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Technology-assisted lead generation for hearing clinics

Hearing Health & Technology LogoThere are a number of traditional marketing channels that audiologists have used and continue to use to generate traffic for their clinics. These include online marketing, email marketing, the utility of a website, blogs, and testimonials to offer credibility and education to the consumer. Word of mouth and even snail mail campaigns are still commonplace strategies. For many clinics, these practices are sufficient to generate respectable traffic. However, many clinics want to increase the number of people coming through the door to boost revenues, especially as their business expands.

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Clearwater Clinical Receives CE Mark Approval for SHOEBOX Audiometry

The Hearing Review logoClearwater Clinical Limited announced that the company has received CE Mark Approval — signifier that products sold in the European Economic Area (EEA) have been assessed to meet safety and other protection requirements—for SHOEBOX Audiometry in Europe as an audiometer intended for diagnosis of human hearing loss. SHOEBOX, according to Clearwater, is reportedly “the world’s first CE-Marked” iPad-based audiometer.

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Tablet Audiometry for Remote Region Access

Hearing Health & Technology Matters LogoOutreach work comes with many challenges, not the least of which is transportation of medical equipment. As an ENT surgeon, I travel with a portable audiometer. Typically, this device is a donated, tabletop, wired suitcase device with a handle. We have traveled to remote communities up north and to our outreach work in east Africa using these types of devices. Tablet audiometry helps overcome some of these challenges.

Another challenge is that these remote areas also suffer from inconsistent access to care as specialists may only visit a few times a year. It is not unusual for patients to have been waiting for weeks, months, or even years to be seen by a specialist.

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Daily Home Hearing Test? A Teenager’s Journey with Hearing Loss.

Hearing Health and Technology Matters logoLike most clinical tests, audiometry produces only a snapshot of a single point in time. For that single moment, you know the truth, but only for that one moment.  Unfortunately, many diseases are either fluctuating or progressive in nature and these snapshots can be misleading and must therefore be understood in a broader clinical context.

A recent patient of mine had an unusual situation with profound unilateral sensorineural deafness and a contralateral ear with a condition called ‘Auto-Immune Inner Ear Disease’1. His ability to hear in his good ear would change, sometimes quite dramatically, over the course of any given day.

Continue reading at Hearing Health Technology Matters.

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