Creating a referral system through pharmacists doesn’t have to be hard. Plan ahead by identifying pharmacists in your community to whom you would like to outreach. Identify just a few key individuals who might expand your network for referrals and help to promote audiology.
Use specialty-specific resources to help educate these individuals and provide resources that will help them speak to their customers or patients.
Pharmacists may get daily questions from their customers about hearing loss, and different hearing devices, and seek guidance on what will help them best. However, a pharmacist may not know all of the answers or when is the best time to refer their customer to an expert such as an audiologist.
As an audiologist, you can provide your local pharmacists with this resource to help them explain to their customers what an audiologist is, what they diagnose and treat or manage, and aid the pharmacist in when it’s time to make a referral.
Download our PDF to simply print and give your pharmacist or download an editable file to add in your contact details.
Auditory Accommodations Pharmacists Can Provide
Speaking with Individuals
When speaking with an individual with hearing loss, encourage your local pharmacists to consider the following:
- Speak slowly, clearly, and take small breaks between phrases and questions.
- Face the person you are speaking to and make eye contact (do not face the computer screen, etc.).
- Keep your hands away from your face while talking.
- Use a window if going unmasked is not possible.
- Don’t just repeat- rephrase.
- Get the person’s attention before speaking to them (say their name, tap, or wave).
- Reduce environmental sounds when possible- move away from other conversations, turn off/down non-essential noises.
- Provide important details in writing.
Conducting an Informal Hearing Screening
Pharmacists interact with copious amounts of people every day. Help them help their customers by knowing what to look for in an informal hearing screening.
Do you have hearing difficulties that you would like to improve? Answer these questions to see what type of care may be appropriate for you!
- Do you experience dizziness, ringing in your ears, or drainage from your ears?
- Do you feel like your hearing is worse in one ear than the other?
- Do you still have a hard time understanding the TV, even if you turn up the volume?
- Do you feel like you would need help outside of your household to set-up new technology?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you may need to see an audiologist for diagnosis and care.
If you answered “No” to all of these, OTC hearing aids may be a good fit for you!
Wearing a Mask
We know it is imperative that we wear masks to protect our health and stop the spread of COVID-19, but wearing a mask may be impeding our ability to communicate, especially when the person has a hearing loss.
Learn more with some tips and recommendations about wearing a mask and communicating successfully with your patients and customers.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a new classification of hearing devices that were created by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2022. OTC hearing aids were developed to help create additional access to lower-cost hearing aid devices.
Pharmacists can help guide consumers regarding the possible use OTC hearing aids and if they are a viable option. OTCs are not approved for those younger than age 18. If your patient or consumer has a profound hearing loss, may need medical management, or may need targeted assistance or counseling, the consumer should see an audiologist.
Use the quick checklist below to help determine the best next steps.
Consumer-Friendly Content and Resources
Pharmacists can’t have all of the answers, but you can provide them with resources that will. Check out all of the Academy’s consumer-friendly resources, including videos, downloadable content, website pages, and more that you can share with your pharmacist.