More than 300 hearing care professionals from around the world recently participated in Oticon’s 5th International Conference. The educational gathering explored the challenges and opportunities for hearing care and hearing care practitioners presented by a changing marketplace and rising consumer expectations. Thought-leaders, scientists and researchers in hearing and health care, social psychology, communication and related disciplines conducted a series of lectures that looked at the diversity of factors that are shaping the future of audiology and hearing care.
“Our goal was to create a forum to share the newest findings and insights on how the convergence of audiology, technology and the needs of today’s clients can be optimized to satisfy a new generation of users,” said Soren Nielsen, president of Oticon A/S. “Throughout the conference, we aimed to provide the knowledge and practical tools needed to turn insights gained into actionable strategies that benefit both clients and hearing care practices.”
Two themes dominated the conference: New research and thinking on the links between hearing loss, cognitive abilities and age and the need for hearing care professionals to establish trust and confidence in an age of consumer skepticism.
Hearing Loss, Cognition and Aging
Frank R. Lin, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, discussed recent research demonstrating that hearing loss is independently associated with poorer cognitive functioning and new epidemiologic studies that are beginning to explore the broader consequences of hearing loss on the health and functioning of older adults.
Jerker Rönnberg, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Swedish Institute for Disability Research and Linnaeus Centre HEAD. Linköping University, shared his viewpoints on the newest findings in hearing brain research and the impact of hearing impairment on long-term and working memory functions.
Establishing Client Trust
Keynote speaker Michael Maslansky, author and CEO, maslansky luntz + partners, looked at the factors that influence client trust and perception of hearing care and hearing solutions. He offered strategies for gaining client trust at a time when non-traditional channels seek to discount the value of face-to-face hearing care.
To help participants better understand when to trust intuition and objective types of measurement in patient assessment, research scholar Carmine Gioia, PhD, CEO of Choice Science, called upon proprietary international research from Oticon involving 2,300 patients and 733 hearing care associates.
Lise Lotte Bundesen, managing director of the Ida Institute, and Curtis Alcock, Partner, Broom, Reid & Harris Hearing, Exeter, UK, focused on ways that practitioners can affect patient-centered change that has the potential to shape more positive client attitudes toward hearing care and hearing solutions.
Customized Client Experience
Presentations by Oticon, Inc. focused on enhancing the client experience. Don Schum, PhD, Vice President, Audiology & Professional Relations, examined the range of aspects that can influence a client’s perception of sound and how the fitting process can be improved to make each fitting more customized and increase client satisfaction. Vice President of Sales Jim Kothe shared results of recent field testing of the new eCaps Pro and Sheena Oliver, AuD, MBA, Vice President of Marketing, discussed marketing tools and focused business support that can help practitioners differentiate their unique brand of hearing care and build their practices.
“As always, the willingness of participants to share their insights and experience is vital to the success of Oticon knowledge-sharing conferences,” notes Nielsen. “As the frontline of client care and contact, hearing care practitioners play an essential role in empowering people with hearing loss to communicate freely, interact naturally and participate actively. Through our conferences, we aim to provide the inspiration and support they need to succeed in creating a better future for their clients and their practices.”