Work safely and effectively in a changed world
The demand for hygiene products and personal protective equipment (PPE) is currently extremely high around the world. This is understandable given that the world was not prepared for a highly infectious respiratory disease like COVID-19.
It’s important to examine why all these items are crucial to curbing the spread of coronavirus and ensuring that our businesses can once again operate effectively without risking further perhaps even more stringent shutdown in the future by being too laissez-faire about the way we tackle the issue today and for the foreseeable future.
The importance of good hygiene
With many societies re-opening their public spaces cautiously after the first big wave of COVID-19 cases passes, now more than ever rigorous hygiene constitutes our first line of defense against the spread of this highly infectious disease. It is now imperative to find a way to provide hearing care services in the safest way possible. That requires a clear disinfection routine in addition to new approaches to ensure physical distancing wherever possible.
Before every new patient arrives, you should allow 15 minutes to not only wash your hands but also disinfect the room and clinic surroundings – including the chair, table, door handles, any equipment that was in contact with a patient’s body, and any furnishings they might have touched. Also do not touch used hearing aids without gloves before completely wiping them down with alcohol wipes. If you create a detailed checklist for your colleagues in line with local regulations and guidelines, you can ensure that this new routine is effective.
Helping hearing aid wearers adjust to life with face masks
Face masks have become part of our new way of life. This is certainly true of hearing aid businesses, where the majority of clients belong to the highest risk group of elderly people. As society opens up and you serve your customers, following your local safety regulations is critical. These include physical distancing, hand hygiene, a disinfection routine, and the use of masks to protect yourself and your clients.
Face masks are not a panacea by themselves but in combination with all the other safety measures, they constitute a vital part of reducing the transmission of the virus. If only some people wear masks in enclosed spaces, the overall chance of infection is not reduced greatly. If every person entering the building wears a mask, however, it contributes significantly to people who could be infectious despite being asymptomatic being less likely to pass the virus on to others. That principle is as relevant in a hearing care practice as it is in a pharmacy or a supermarket.
However, wearing BTE or RIC hearing aids together with face masks can be a challenge. The best solution for your clients is to use a mask with straps that go around the head rather than the earlobes. Another alternative is sewing two buttons to a piece of fabric placed at the back of the head or to a headband. You can then attach the mask’s elastics to these buttons. If your hair is long enough to wear in a bun, this can also be used to hold the elastics in place. Offering your patients these simple tips could persuade them to regularly use a mask for their own and your own protection.
Here are some useful infection control tips from our partners in Austria that you may consider!
Remote Care Solutions
As people try to get “back to normal” in the coming weeks and months, a whole range of “new normal” ways of doing things will be needed, from physical distancing and PPE in clinics to innovative remote care solutions such as Signia TeleCare to keep face-to-face meetings to a minimum.