Let’s Talk About Patient Centered Care
Our guest this week is an audiologist, Dr. Ingrid McBride. She lives in Arizona working as a mobile audiologist; Audio-Logics Consultants, LLC. She travels all over the state of Arizona meeting with clients. Hearing Loss LIVE! met her through our friend Gloria Pelletier who also shares her experience below.
A 6 hour appointment with an audiologist?!
Chelle: Earlier this year, Gloria told me she just finished a 6 hour appointment with her audiologist. Wow. I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 31 years and I never had a 6 hour appointment. What a thorough audiologist, I thought. Not only that but the appointment was at Gloria’s home.
Several months later, Gloria allowed me to sit in on an appointment with her audiologist, Dr. McBride. We sat together for almost 2 hours while Dr. McBride helped Gloria regain access to her hearing aid phone app. She also walked Gloria through the different features on the app. Even though I asked questions, Dr. McBride kept her focus on Gloria. She faced her client the whole time, speaking directly to her using clear speech. It was impressive.
This was the first time I’ve seen hearing aid technology up close in a while. A lot has changed in the last 8 years since I got my last pair of hearing aids! I was happy to see how much we can adjust programs to our satisfaction in the app. We have more control than ever before. Eight years ago, the most we could do in hearing aid phone apps was change the tone a bit and change the program. This showed me how outdated my hearing aids are. It’s time to get new ones.
After what I witnessed between Gloria and Dr. McBride, I’m also going to make sure I have someone who is knowledgeable about patient centered care. In our podcast, Dr. McBride spells that out for us. Determine whether or not you are getting patient centered care.
Listen to, or watch, our podcast and share it with your significant other. Dr. McBride shares “clear speech” strategies. It takes two to make communication happen and she gives hearing partners a clear guide to follow.
Hearing Partners Need to be Involved
Julia: Odds are, the hearing partner is the first person to recognize there is a hearing loss, probably before the hearing loss partner realizes it. There’s several misconceptions around hearing aids. Hearing partners, you can get in the know when involved from the very beginning with audiology appointments.
A misconception among hearing partners, “Go get a pair of hearing aids and things will be back to normal.” Hearing partners don’t understand what hearing aids can, and can’t, do. When “normal” doesn’t happen, they get upset and angry. I’m not sure why all hearing professionals are not more up front about this. As a hearing partner, if you want better communication outcomes you must be involved. Period.
Attend a Hearing Test
When you attend all audiology appointments, you will find out what type of hearing loss your partner is experiencing. What sounds and tones are affected by their hearing loss. This helps you be a better communicator. When getting new hearing aids, you can review the different kinds of hearing aids together. Look for an audiologist that wants you to be successful with your hearing devices AND communication strategies. Listen to our podcast with Dr. McBride to learn more about this.
Think about finding rehabilitative services. As an example; when someone goes blind, there are services to help them learn to get around the obstacles. They aren’t just given devices, they get rehabilitation. The same needs to happen with hearing loss. When you see an audiologist check off these items:
- Do they encourage you to keep a ‘sound’ diary?
- Do they encourage you to come back as often as needed?
- Do they share other hearing loss resources with you? (State services, support groups)
- Do they offer classes like Dr. McBride?
Be a part of the solution so you both can have better communication outcomes.
Thorough Explanations on Hearing Loss & Hearing Aids
Gloria: I met Dr. McBride at the beginning of this year. She came to my home and did an audiologic consultation. She did some very different testing for my hearing loss that I haven’t experienced before. She is patient explaining every test, why she was doing it, and what it told her. We had a small conference before our testing and she realized I could hear male voices much better than female. She followed up that observation with testing and it was included in my report. She made adjustments in my hearing aids for that.
After the testing, she explained all the results to me. We went over the audiogram, what it indicated, how it worked in programming my hearing aids. This is important because your programming will determine how successful you are wearing hearing aids. She made a mold of my ear canal and we selected the color of the hearing aid. I, of course, wanted red but that wasn’t in the selection.
Assistive Listening Technology & Hearing Aids
She came back to my home after she ordered the hearing aids and Roger On Pens for me. She programmed my hearing aids so well that I could wear them all day from day one. When she was done programming I heard noises that I hadn’t heard before.
- The refrigerator growls.
- The dishwasher clangs.
- The washing machine is possessed. (Just teasing)
Never go to Walmart with new hearing aids, I felt I was inside a kettle drum. It was so loud and noisy. All hard surfaces.
After a month she and I had a conference over a video call to adjust my hearing aids again. I loved it because she is available and can change the programming through the internet. Easy and convenient.
What is so surprising is her patience. She wanted me to understand my hearing loss, what was happening to me with hearing loss and how to make my life easier with the hearing aids. I have never had an audiologist who “cared” about my adjustment and was willing to work with me until the hearing aids were useful. Her understanding and knowledge is more than just hearing aids. She understands the technology associated and the accessories that make hearing easier i.e. Roger On microphones, extra powerpack. She took into consideration my video conferencing and the need to clearly understand the speech. She recommended specific headphones that work with my hearing aids and are comfortable.
She has since been back to my home for an adjustment because I needed help with the phone app for my hearing aids and she was able to get my app working again. She is amazing at technology. She took the time to hook my hearing aids to my cell phone, my computer and any other Bluetooth connection I required. Then, she showed me how to do it if she wasn’t there.
Rehabilitation Services = Success
For me, she is a “rock star” because she changed my life. I wear my hearing aids everyday, all day. I can use my iPhones and video conferencing and I can hear what is being said.
I am concluding her class on “Living Well with Hearing Loss” and I learned a great deal I did not know before. I am always excited for her classes because she organizes the material in such an easy way to understand. She understands the complexity of hearing loss and can speak to the emotional aspects of hearing loss
She makes services happen all over the state of Arizona for people with hearing loss. She consults with Vocational Rehabilitation which has such a major impact for people with hearing loss and returning to work.
Sometimes you meet someone who is great at their job and a great human being. Dr. McBride is that person. Her passion for audiology and her clients is amazing. I will never settle for less after working with Dr. McBride, not only did she do many tests but she taught me how to advocate for better hearing.
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