People wearing hearing aids can now have their devices adjusted remotely, thanks to new technology rolled out by University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.
Over 190 adults have signed up to this service since infection control measures were implemented at Derriford during lockdown.
Using an app linked to the hearing aid, the audiology department is able to adjust hearing aid settings for people who are in the comfort of their own homes.
Adam Beckman, Head of Audiology Services, said: “We were concerned about our patients, having suspended all but emergency appointments, so we started setting up hearing aids remotely and posting them out to patients.
“This isn’t the normal way we work, but having remote access has meant we can fine tune the sound quality of the device after it has been tried out in the real world.
“This new technology has meant we can continue to help people whilst still maintaining social distancing, reducing traffic to the hospital and even give access to those people who are shielding at home.”
“It’s a really positive outcome for patients, and as this new approach grows it will become much easier for people in even the most remote parts of the UK to get the same quality of service.
“It will be a long time before everyone can be offered the latest technology, but this is a small step towards a future that will be easier for everyone.”
The new Danalogic hearing aids link to an app on a smartphone or tablet which is accessed via the cloud in the audiology department.
One patient using the app is 82 year old Edward Gigg from Plymstock who is shielding. He said: “I’ve found the app very simple to use and didn’t have a problem downloading it.
“It’s definitely better than going out during lockdown and I hope that it will carry on after this period to save making journeys back and forth to the hospital.
“I do find an equal benefit is that I am able to alter the programmes via the app on my phone rather than pushing buttons on the actual device.”
Plymouth is one of the first parts of the country to use this technology, and other services have been following its lead.
There are an estimated 100,000 adult hearing aid users in the South West peninsula. Approximately 2000 patients are fitted with a hearing aid each year at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.
For more information about Audiology Services visit: https://www.plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk/audiology