Dr. Emily McMahan is an audiologist at Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus. Originally from Cincinnati Ohio, Dr. McMahan moved to Anchorage to complete her residency. She loved it so much she never left – nine years later and she is proud to call Alaska home.
The Field Of Audiology
Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus is an audiology private practice, with a specialty in tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing or other noises in your ears, and it affects 15% to 20% of people. Dr. McMahan grew up with a friend who’s brother was deaf, and that early introduction to the field of audiology was one of the factors that helped her decide what she wanted to pursue within the medical field. This year was the practice’s sixth year anniversary, and Dr. McMahan now has two locations, which is very exciting for her.
How a Pandemic Affected Alaska
When Covid-19 hit last year, Alaska went into full shutdown mode. Though it definitely affected all small businesses, it severely impacted the travel and tourism industry, which impacted the local community. “As a business owner within the healthcare field, we had a lot of strict mandates we had to follow,” Dr. McMahan told us.
Dr. McMahan provided telehealth services when possible, but for some of her patients who weren’t able to utilize the telehealth services, Dr. McMahan and her team had to think of other ways to continue to help them- “We started getting creative and instead of offering in person appointments, we offered curbside appointments.” Through bluetooth equipment and a window, Dr. McMahan was able to meet with her patients while she was inside her practice, and her patients were socially distanced inside their cars.
Even with how complicated things were last year, Dr. McMahan was determined to keep helping her patients in whatever way she could while keeping both her patients and team safe.
“We Had to Learn How to be Flexible”
Though adapting to a pandemic wasn’t the easiest task for Dr. McMahan and her team to do, she knew they had to make things as convenient and flexible as possible to continue to be able to help their patients. “For us in our practice it was really important that we didn’t leave any of our patients without communication,” Dr. McMahan said. With a patient population that didn’t have a strong ability to hear because of a disability, it was really important for Dr. McMahan to over communicate with her patients so they felt safe and confident with moving forward.
Going Above & Beyond
The team over at Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus were already equipped with a lot of the tools they would need to handle lockdown. They had previously provided telehealth services and also had their online presence established through different directories and social media platforms.
When lockdown originally happened, Dr. McMahan and her team called every patient over 65 just to ask them if there was anything they could help them with. Since a lot of them were scared when the pandemic first started, Dr. McMahan’s team placed lots of grocery delivery orders for patients who didn’t feel safe going out. A lot of these older patients didn’t have family in Alaska that could help them with purchasing groceries, so Dr. McMahan’s team stepped in to help – “For us it was making sure they knew we were here, but even beyond that, what could we do to make this a little less scary for everyone.”
Dr.McMahan and her team at Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus are the area experts when it comes to hearing healthcare. They have assembled a leading team that follows a methodical process of best practices to deliver better hearing for life, with a track record of thousands of patients.
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