Audira Articles

Views, insight, perspectives, and commentary on hearing care.

We reap what we show – Part 2

We reap what we show

 In We Reap What We Show: Part 1 we saw how the hearing healthcare profession has been basing its marketing assumptions on a series of self-perpetuating myths.

In this article we are going to look at some more "fit-for-purpose" guidelines on the type of imagery we should be using in hearing healthcare marketing and campaigns, together with an introduction to the evidence-based rationale behind them.

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We reap what we show — Part 1

Reap what we show with stereotypes

Have you ever wondered what type of images we should be showing in our marketing and hearing healthcare messages?

Whilst it very much depends on the particular context and response we are aiming to evoke, there are some fundamental principles we need to consider here, principles grounded in the way the human mind works.

When people are formulating their perceptions and attitudes towards hearing, they do so by drawing on information that springs most readily to mind. Think how easy it is to recall images, and we quickly see why it's important we get our imagery right.

This series of two articles will explain how.

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The myth that people wait X number of years


If you are a hearing care professional or work within the hearing technology industry you will no doubt have been taught that "People wait X number of years before they get a hearing aid."

It has been one of the industry's most influential mantras, a foundational belief on which we build much of our activities, research, public awareness campaigns and training courses.

In case you are unfamiliar with this doctrine, it is based on studies that ask people how long they were aware they had a problem with their hearing before they began wearing hearing aids. The number of years varies from around 3 years to over 10 years, and it's sometimes used as a measure of whether attitudes towards the wearing of hearing aids are changing. See for example Marketrak.

But the idea that people "wait" is a myth, and a dangerous one at that because the consequences of such a mistaken belief are actually contributing to the very problem we are "measuring".

Here's why.

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Why it’s imperative we re-define the word ‘deaf’

What is the definition of the word deaf?

How would you explain the meaning of the word ‘deaf’?

The question is immensely important because how we answer it has a direct effect on our messages, which in turn affect Society’s attitudes towards hearing and deafness. The problem is that we are currently using the term ambiguously, which leads to mixed messages and confusion – both of which are counterproductive.

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How to get people to want and like hearing aids

Creating demand for hearing technology

One of the most widely-held myths in hearing care is also one of the most damaging. It's the belief that, "Nobody wants hearing aids, do they?"

This, perhaps more than any other myth, is responsible for holding back the entire from becoming as acceptable to the public as eyecare or dentistry, and it's about time we addressed this head on – because if we don't, we'll be having this very same discussion ten, twenty, thirty years from now.

In this article we'll begin by looking at where this myth has come and why it's essential to eliminate it from our thinking if we're serious about wanting perceptions to change. We're then going to learn about powerful, yet simple, tools that each of us can use to get people to want and like hearing aids. 

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How to resonate with how people see themselves and their hearing

How you perceive someone may be very different from how they perceive themselves

How people see themselves plays a major role in whether or not an individual considers themselves to be "ready for hearing aids", and yet we very seldom take this into account in the way we present and provide hearing care.

We are often so focused on trying to convince people that they have a hearing problem and should be wearing hearing aids that our communication instantly loses its audience. Our message lacks what psychologist Howard Gardner terms "resonance".

This failure to communicate in a way that resonates with how people see themselves is possibly the biggest contributor to why people delay seeking timely treatment for a reduction in their hearing.

So how can we change this? What do we need to do differently to avoid falling into this trap?

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The missing ingredient for increasing hearing aid adoption

What's wrong with this picture? What's the missing ingredient (and don't say hair).

Let's consider the current estimate that only 1 in 4 people (US) and 1 in 3 people (UK) who need hearing aids actually have them. That means there are more people who don't have hearing aids (but may benefit from them), than do. And despite the considerable efforts of hearing aid manufacturers, hearing care practitioners and charities to increase the adoption rate over the years, this statistic has remained fairly consistent.

We're obviously still missing a vital ingredient. But what is it?

Perhaps you have some ideas of your own. So before we go any further, how would you complete the following sentence:

"We can increase the rate of hearing aid adoption by..."

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