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A New Zealand First: Personalised, Remote Hearing Aid Fittings

Nationwide audiology service Triton Hearing is helping New Zealanders access audiology services like never before; with a brand new personalised and remote hearing aid service directly into your home.

Head of Innovation at Triton Hearing, Craig Lett has said “We are excited about the impact that this new innovation can have; it’s exactly what is needed right now”.

The first remote hearing aid appointment took place on 30th April, and the client who received the service has thanked to his audiologist for the “opportunity to be the first Kiwi fitted with remote devices.” Once he got his hearing aid connected to his audiologist, he received clear instructions on how to use his new hearing aids that are now “working fantastically”.

Audiologist Alec Cummins has found it a privilege to do Triton’s first remote fitting. “It's nice to get a bit of client-facing time again after so many weeks of uncertainty”. Whilst hearing clinics were closed there has still been work with repairs, however, it is “only a small part of what we normally do”. Providing remote hearing services “in a way it felt like a return to some sort of (new) normal.”

Triton Hearing moved very quickly to create a new process that connects hearing aid users with their audiologists without having to leave their bubble while still providing full support and care. CEO James Whittaker has said he’s incredibly proud of his team who have been able to do this under the already challenging constraints of the COVID-19 lockdown. Launching NZ’s first fully integrated remote hearing aid service is a game changer.

“With older communities being hit hardest in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important to find a way to safely connect to those in need, as hearing loss can compound an already isolating situation,” said James. “Allowing people to reconnect with friends, family and loved ones is more important than ever before.”

In reality the older members of communities are likely to be isolated the longest, even when most parts of the world have gone back to ‘normal’. James points out that “a large number of our clients fall into the 70+ age range and we needed to ensure we could connect with them as soon as possible.”

Until now, during alert levels 3 and 4, New Zealanders with hearing loss have not been able to access services with all private hearing clinics closed across the country. Remote hearing aid services will come as a relief to many who were waiting. Audiologist Alec commented that, while there were a few minor teething issues, “it’s amazing that the technology has been brought forward so quickly, and has worked so well.”

How does it work:

  • The first step is a phone or video consultation with an audiologist, to understand a client’s individual needs
  • The prescribed hearing devices are sent directly to the client’s home
  • A qualified audiologist will engage in a video consultation with the client through an app
  • The audiologist connects to the hearing devices through the app, allowing them to fine tune the sound and ensure the client is getting the best possible hearing outcomes

The devices being used for this unique service are Phonak Marvels. James Whittaker has said “what makes these so special is that they are made-for-all mobile platforms. As long as you have a smart device you are able to get access to a live remote service appointment with an experienced audiologist.”

If the client isn’t overly tech savvy they can easily be helped by a friend or family member within their bubble. “Once the video call is in progress and the hearing aids are in, the client doesn’t really have to do anything other than give the usual feedback about how things are feeling and sounding,” reported Alec after he completed the first remote fitting.

Head of Innovation for Triton Hearing, Craig Lett has said “This is amazing technology. It is something that Triton Hearing, with its culture of innovation, has been working towards for the past 3 years.”

New Zealand is uniquely placed to lead the world in remote hearing aid services, with high technology uptake across the population, geographical challenges and a history of embracing new ideas. Triton Hearing is leading the hearing industry with its fully-integrated remote services. Lett says, “as a company we wanted to take courageous steps to be able to pull together and respond to what our clients need from us at this time.”

This kind of innovation is at the very heart of the Triton Hearing culture. The company made headlines in 2017 with the launch of their TeleAudiology service. TeleAudiology connected some of the most remote parts of New Zealand with Audiology services and has proved a gateway into the remote services they have just launched.

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