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How to Perform Remote Fine Tuning via TeleCare 3.0

Introduction

Signia TeleCare is the world’s first telehealth application that closely connects hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional (HCP). HCPs can use TeleCare with any patient who has a smartphone, regardless of the brand or type of hearing aid. By enabling remote consultations and hearing aid adjustments[1] during the critical home trial period and beyond, TeleCare helps patients stay satisfied with their new hearing aids after they leave the office, helps HCPs use their time more efficiently, reduces return rates, and differentiates the HCP’s practice.

When working with Signia Nx™ Bluetooth® hearing aids such as Pure Nx, TeleCare 3.0 turns the patient’s Apple® or Android™ smartphone[2] into a programming interface, and enables full remote programming functionality via Connexx. This means follow-up visits can occur with the HCP in their office, and the patient in the comfort of their own home (or anywhere else). Professional-patient interactions can take place via voice or video calls[3] while hearing aid fine tuning is accomplished via the integration of Connexx and the TeleCare Portal.

Enabling Remote Fine tuning

The first hearing aid fitting should be performed in the HCP’s office. During this initial fitting session, the HCP should enable remote fine tuning by clicking on the “cloud” icon in Connexx. Here, the HCP enters the patient’s mobile phone number. A text message is automatically sent to the patient’s phone which contains a link to download the TeleCare myHearing™ App. When installed and activated, the app is automatically paired to the TeleCare Portal. The question mark on the “cloud” icon will then become a green check mark.  At this point, any further fine tuning performed in Connexx will be synced automatically with the TeleCare Portal.

[1] Remote hearing aid adjustments only possible with Signia hearing aids.

[2] Due to the numerous different Android hardware on the market, some Android devices may not be fully compatible with the myHearing app, which relies on Bluetooth LE for information transmission. In general, Android version 6.0 devices are compatible. The growing list of compatible Android devices, such as Samsung Galaxy series, can be found here: https://www.signia-hearing.com/mycontrol/android/

[3] Not available in all markets

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Enable remote tuning via TeleCare in Connexx 8

To enable remote fine tuning, a fast and stable internet connection is necessary.[1] In addition, a webcam is strongly recommended to enable video calls, which helps to provide patients with service that feels more personal and connected. Of course, remote fine tuning can also be carried out effectively with a voice call in the case of insufficient internet bandwidth or if the patient is on a limited data plan.

Initiating Remote Fine Tuning

Once any physical fit issues have been resolved and the patient is familiar with hearing aid insertion/removal and care, all subsequent follow up fittings which only require hearing aid programming changes and counseling/instruction can take place remotely.

When ready to initiate a remote tuning session, call up the most recent fitting session in Connexx. Click on Start Remote Fitting at the bottom left corner of the screen. Note that this button is only visible when fitting Signia Nx Bluetooth hearing aids.

[1] Typically 4G bandwidth is sufficient for a video call.

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Start Remote Fitting on the bottom left of the Connexx screen

Connexx will prompt the HCP to choose between a video or voice call. Once selected, a call to the patient will be initiated. The patient can either accept or decline the call when they see the video/voice call request on their smartphone.

Remote Fine Tuning

When the patient accepts the call, a video or audio connection is established. In a video call, video streams from both parties will be visible similar to popular apps such as Skype or FaceTime. Instruct the patient to ensure their hearing aids are in place and switched on, and click to connect to the hearing aids. From here, it is possible to counsel the patient in full screen mode.

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Counsel patients in full screen mode

When it is time to fine tune the hearing aids, it is also possible to minimize the video screen to the bottom left corner of Connexx.

Before programming changes made by the HCP can be applied to the patient’s hearing aids, a pop up window in the app will ask for the patient’s permission. When the patient agrees, changes made in Connexx are transmitted remotely to the hearing aids in real time. The programming icon on the bottom of the Connexx screen indicates when the programming has taken effect in the hearing aids. The patient can try out the new settings immediately and provide feedback.

An advantage of TeleCare 3.0 is that HCPs can fine tune the hearing aid during the most relevant situations in the patient’s life, such as in their living room with the TV on, or in their car while their spouse is driving. The hearing aid settings can be fine tuned based on the patient’s complaints as well as acoustic information collected by the hearing aid. HCPs troubleshoot the problems exactly where they occur, and patients can immediately provide feedback on the fitting solutions.

Once finished, Connexx saves all data locally, and the data is automatically synchronized with the TeleCare HCP portal.

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The video stream remains visible in the bottom left corner while remote fine tuning is performed in real time with Connexx.

The Patient Side

For your patient, the remote fine tuning process is even simpler. When the HCP initiates the call, which is similar to the phone’s native call function, the patient simply has to accept the call (the app must be open or running in the background) to begin the conversation.

During the call, all hearing aid fine tuning changes are transmitted and programmed in real time without any interaction from the patient. In other words, during the remote fitting process, the patient’s smartphone essentially becomes a wireless programming interface like NoahLink or Hi-Pro.

4-Band Equalizer

As an alternative to the full Connexx programming functionality, the HCP TeleCare portal continues to offer the 4-Band Equalizer remote tuning option for Signia hearing aids. Adjustment are possible in 8 steps, with each step corresponding to a 3 dB change.

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Rebecca Herbig, AuD

Rebecca Herbig, Au.D., is Manager & Editor of Scientific Marketing for Signia at Sivantos Inc. in USA. She spent five years with Sivantos (then Siemens Audiology Solutions) in Germany and prior to that worked as a clinical audiologist in northern Virginia. Rebecca earned her B.S. in Audiology from the University of Texas in Dallas and an Au.D. from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.