While keeping up with the news on TV and watching various experts talk via video chat from their homes, I have to admit it can be amusing at times. Poor connections lead to signal interruptions and the occasional child or pet showing up on air makes everyone seem real and reminds us that we’re all in this together.  Of interest is how social distancing and “stay at home” orders are affecting many of us in the form of isolation and a disruption in how we communicate with each other. Because we’re social beings who depend so much on connection with one another, we’re already being made aware of the adverse impact this is having on many of us. 

Today’s Communication Challenges

Email, texting and apps like FaceTime and Skype allow us to stay in touch with friends and family, but they do not replace the human interaction of talking face-to-face. When we have a conversation with someone in person, we pick up non-verbal cues such as gestures and facial expressions that provide additional context and meaning. For someone with hearing loss, trying to hear speech from a distance or using an app with a poor connection can cause anxiety or stress. And if you take away those gestures and facial expressions lost through a video chat, the communication challenge becomes twice as difficult. Here are two recent examples to illustrate this.

Social Distancing

I was out walking in my neighborhood a few days ago and witnessed a man and woman having a chat about 10 feet apart staying in their respective front yards. Even though I didn’t know them very well, I decided to stop and say, “hello”. It was clear the man was having difficulty understanding the woman (and sometimes me) and asked us to repeat ourselves. After a few instances of this he became frustrated and said, “If we weren’t so far apart I’d understand you better!” I asked him if he’s been having other problems and he replied, “Yes.” He then told me about hearing conversation from a distance on windy days is even more difficult and how he’s just starting to avoid people when outside. After hearing this, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to introduce Eargo and arrange a demo on his front porch! 

Those Dreaded Video Calls

A good friend has a mild hearing loss and comes from a large family. He’s regularly on Skype keeping in touch with siblings and several nieces and nephews. The other day we were talking about the current state of events and he told me a few stories about how using video chat can be a blessing and a curse. When the wifi connection is good, he understands the conversation pretty well. But when the connection is distorted, he misses half or more of what’s being said, becomes frustrated and usually ends the call early. Knowing that I’ve wanted him to try Eargo for the past several months, he’s finally going to try because of the times we’re in and he’s realizing he simply can’t wait any longer.

How Important is Our Hearing?

It’s well documented about untreated hearing loss and the adverse effects it can have on a person’s quality of life and overall health. Neurologically, the longer someone waits to try hearing aids to improve their hearing, the more challenging it is for the brain to adjust and adapt. And during extreme uncertain times like we’re all experiencing, our ability to stay connected with family and friends takes on a whole new level of importance. While improving your hearing may be the last thing on your mind, I’d like to suggest there’s never been a more critical time to stay connected with the world around us than right now.  But how do you find someone with whom to discuss your thoughts and feelings about your hearing when so many places are closed or have significantly reduced hours and service levels? I have an answer. 

How Eargo Can Help

We’ve been hearing so much about “telehealth” the past several weeks and the ability to connect with the medical community via video and phone calls. Eargo has been at the forefront of this movement for hearing loss for several years giving consumers the ability to speak with a highly trained team of consultants and licensed hearing professionals. We were built to empower the consumer to take care of their hearing aids at their own pace and from the safety and convenience of their home.  It’s what we do and we’re the best in the business. In this case, hearing is believing, so give us a call to find out if Eargo will work for you. You have nothing to lose….and you’re home anyway. We can be reached at 800-615-9000 and we’re ready to listen.

Author

Steve is Eargo’s Head of Sales Operations. With over 25 years experience as an audiologist, Steve has helped countless patients over the years.

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