Hearing loss affects millions of Canadians. Many sufferers, however, fail to seek out the initial consultations necessary for proper treatment (see why take a hearing test). Furthermore, those that do get some help such as a hearing aid do not get the follow-up help required to ensure the maximum benefits of such aids. In recent months, both Mainland Hearing and NexGen Hearing have introduced online consultations for new or existing clients who need to work with a hearing specialist, but do not have the time or ability to get to the clinic’s office.

Online consultations do not replace the need for proper hearing tests (see hearing test for men), but they do offer new and existing customers the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance from the comfort of their own home. Marke Hambley, the founder and director of operations for NexGen Hearing and Mainland hearing comments, “Seniors are the fastest-growing users of computers and have made a quantum leap in technology. A lot of them have bypassed the computer and gone right to tablets. We’re seeing a number who want to be seen virtually unless they have to go down to the office to make a programming adjustment to [their] earpiece.” New clients might be screened for hearing loss via some basic questions or sound tests, and then scheduled for more exhaustive in-clinic follow-ups. Existing clients might be counseled on how to cope with the new noises they are hearing or coached on how to adjust their hearing aids for maximum benefit.

The awareness of hearing loss as a problem is increasing. Hearing aid sales are expected to grow in the coming decade as more and more baby boomers reach the age when hearing significantly declines (see baby boomers hearing loss). With the increased sale and use of aids comes the need for more ways to help consumers use their hearing devices. While online consultations do not substitute for the necessary one-on-one in-clinic tests and meetings, they do offer another path for connecting specialists with clients to share information. Older Canadians are both increasing their use of mobile computers such as tablets and they are also the population most likely to suffer from increased hearing loss. The ability to use the new technology to easily connect with a hearing specialist allows more Canadians to get the care they need.

Source: Vancouver Sun