Some people might think that the “age of COVID” greatly limits the job of an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinician. Granted, the nature of our specialty usually requires us to get close and look into pretty small spaces like ear canals and nostrils. But as we have all learned from our new world of stay-at-home work and virtual connections, technology has made many things possible.
Our state’s re-opening guidelines currently allow us to provide in-person care, but if you’re not quite comfortable to venture into a doctor’s office, the ENT Department at Atrius Health can provide care in many ways, and virtual visits may be a great option for you. Through our video visits, we can see and do a lot more than you may realize:
We even have a very effective, low-contact solution for people experiencing potential loss of hearing. Patients can provide us clues about possible hearing loss, like the need to turn the TV volume up higher than before or sharing that it’s harder to follow conversations when there’s background noise, but how to evaluate it accurately can be trickier in our remote world.
If you are wondering about your hearing but don’t want to come into the practice, the ENT department has been particularly excited to support our patients through a unique Curbside Audiogram program. You can make an appointment with one of our audiologists who will meet you in a designated area of our parking garages at either Harvard Vanguard – Quincy or Kenmore. There, we can hand you a (fully disinfected) iPad and headset, and using a special app on the device and our audiologists’ instructions, guide yourself through a series of tests, then drive away. The audiologist will follow up with you via a video visit to discuss the test results and any needed treatment plan. That’s it! We have completed between 60 and 100 of these curbside appointments since early April to the satisfaction of our patients.
So if you need to see an ENT clinician, please do not hesitate to contact your PCP’s office or one of our specialists to make sure you get the care you need.