Audira Articles

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

Best practice, or bloat?


In an age where differentiation through best practice competes with value for money propositions, what path should we follow in our own practices? Should we be aiming to blaze a trail by “doing more” in an attempt to set ourselves apart from other providers? Or should we be looking to streamline our models to remain competitive on price?

As hearing care develops in the years to come each of us will encounter new research and new ideas on what should or shouldn't be included in “best practice”.

But there is a temptation with best practice to include anything and everything, to confuse doing more with real world benefits significant enough to justify the cost implications to the person paying for the service – whether that's a patient, a consumer or a third party.

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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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Hearing care’s response to commoditisation


In Hearing Care in the Age of Commoditisation & Information we saw how a combination of increasing commoditisation and the accessibility of information has forever changed the behaviour and expectations of consumers. We also saw how vulnerable traditional hearing care is to these changes in which expertise is slowly but surely sidelined by consumer knowledge, and the price needs justifying as never before.

In this part we'll be reviewing the three main ways that traditional hearing care has responded so far, before looking at what constitutes true differentiation and how hearing care practices should seek to differentiate themselves.

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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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