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How hearing aids help Dustin communicate during COVID-19 pandemic

Using hearing aids during COVID-19 while social distancing
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a massive shift to work remotely.

In fact, according to a Gartner HR survey, 88 percent of organizations encouraged or required their employers to work from home. For people with hearing loss who rely on face-to-face communication, like Dustin Feldman, being remote potentially could have had its challenges. However, Feldman received his new hearing aids just before the pandemic started. Using new hearing aids during the COVID-19  pandemic has helped him communicate with colleagues and loved ones.

Feldman used to spend most of his work hours meeting clients face-to-face, either one-on-one or in groups.

“It was a benefit for me to be in front of my clients,” he says. Not only for relationship building, but it was sometimes easier for him to understand what they were saying.

Since around the age of six, Feldman has been wearing hearing aids. And while the hearing technology helped, in certain circumstances, he would need to read lips to fully understand what someone was saying.

So, how was he going to be able to communicate while not being able to see his clients or friends during social distancing?

“Luckily,” says the 30-year-old man from Boston, “I picked up my new Phonak Naída Marvel hearing aids right before we went to shelter-in.”

Feldman shares how his new power hearing aids and hearing accessories helped him to better communicate during work hours and leisure time while practicing social distancing.

Working from home with hearing aids during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the first few weeks of the pandemic and shelter-in, many companies moved from in-person meetings to video conference calls. According to the technology blog, “No Jitter,”  in just March alone, WebEx reported 6.7 billion meeting minutes, and Microsoft reported that its Teams collaboration platform saw a 500 percent increase in meetings, calls, and conferences.

Adjusting to working remotely meant for Feldman, too, online conference calls, and phone conversations.

“I’ve got a nice setup at my home now that I’ve been working from home,” he says. “It’s important that I stay in constant contact with my clients. And, it’s amazing to be part of virtual meetings that are connected to my hearing aids.”

Read more: Phonak launches new, modern hearing aids for severe hearing loss

Because his Naída Marvel hearing aids pair directly to his smartphone, Feldman is able to have hands-free phone calls.

“I’m always on the phone, and having the Bluetooth, hands-free option makes everything so easier,” he explains. “It helps me to stay engaged with my clients.”

“Because his Naída Marvel hearing aids pair directly to his smartphone, Feldman is able to have hands-free phone calls.”

Communicating with hearing care professionals

One of the features available with his hearing aids is finding additional support through the myPhonak app. One such benefit Feldman saw because of the app was being able to customize his Naída Marvel hearing aids to better fit his hearing environment.

Wearing new hearing aids during the COVID-19 pandemic

“During a 7-mile walk, I told [my girlfriend] Brittanie how I can’t wait to try the ‘Restaurant Program’ once we’re able to dine in again,” he says. “We walked through Boston’s North End and got some takeout from one of our favorite Italian restaurants!”

The pandemic brought a rise in telehealth, a virtual way to connect with a physician. Based on a survey by Sage Growth Partner (SGP), 59 percent of respondents said they are more likely to use telehealth now than previously.

Dustin is excited that through the myPhonak app, he’s able to connect remotely with his audiologist for support. Phonak Remote Support enables hearing aid wearers to have their hearing aids remotely fit, programmed, adjusted, and optimized in real-time.

Social distancing with hearing aids during COVID-19

With shelter-in orders beginning to lessen but social distancing still being practiced, Feldman relies on his hearing aids and accessories to help him stay connected. At a small get-together, he asked his friend to wear the Phonak PartnerMic, an easy-to-use remote microphone that streams clear speech right to Feldman’s hearing aids. It gives conversations a little more of a boost for Feldman.

Read more: How hearing aid accessories bring us closer in times of isolation 

“It worked perfectly!” Feldman exclaims “Mike has a very deep voice, and I always had a bit of a hard time hearing him at times. This time, however, I was able to man the grill and still be part of the conversation behind me.”

“The Naída Marvels are definitely a gamechanger,” says Feldman. “Every day I am becoming the best ‘me’ that I can be.”

Author Details
Jo-El M. Grossman is the Communications & Content Manager for Phonak U.S. She is an avid storyteller, as well as an accomplished, creative and qualified marketing and editorial leader with a multi-media background.