I have never shied away from a challenge. Some may say it is a personality flaw. I tend to think of it as a gift. Nevertheless, I was always the kid on the playground who would see your dare and raise you one “double-dog”. With that being said, my career path hasn’t disappointed. Let’s face it, audiology isn’t easy. Hearing aid fitting isn’t easy. Patient and family counseling isn’t easy. We sell treatments “no one needs”– and even fewer want. Convincing someone to do what’s right for hearing health is often as difficult as trying to hiss and yawn at the same time. So, like most of you, much of my career has been spent chasing challenges.
Patient demands changing
One of the most relevant and significant challenges has been adapting to the ever-changing footprint of hearing healthcare. How do we differentiate ourselves in competitive markets? How do we make ourselves, our services, and our products more attractive? Answers to these questions are further shaping the hearing healthcare industry every day. Take a look around. Patient demands are serving as catalysts in advancements for care that are as convenient as holistic.
Telehealth and more specifically, eAudiology is upon us. As a matter of fact, we are experiencing the age of digital transformation. It is evident in almost every aspect of our lives. The way we shop, research, and even “hail a cab” is done with the touch of a button and more convenient than ever. We find ourselves in a place where consumer-driven innovation is allowing people to enjoy greater access…greater access to sound, connectivity, and care.
Guess work eliminated
As audiologists, we know there are some inescapable, although not surprising, truths with patient care; most first time hearing aid wearers will not like the sound of his/her own voice, patients will struggle in difficult listening environments and you will play the guessing game of “what was the hearing aid doing at the precise moment you had difficulty?”. Let’s focus on that last one. Prior to eAudiology, you had to interrogate your patient to learn as much about the situation as possible. For example: What kind of room were you in?…Where were you sitting?…How far away was the speaker?…Had you made any manual changes to the hearing aid? And so on. Now with the ability to make real-time programming changes, remotely, the guess work can be eliminated entirely. Patients can recreate the environment with you in tow, but not actually, physically there. What a game-changer!
Change can be goodTimes are changing, for sure. How will you respond to demands? OTC hearing devices? New channels of distribution? Direct to consumer marketing efforts? Will you embrace eAudiology allowing yourself and your patients new ways to have access to each other?
Opportunity is abundant. Don’t be left behind. Be the advocate your patients deserve. Find your brand. Patient profiles are changing. Technology is changing. Challenges are changing. We have to change, too. Remember, the proverbial smooth sea does not make skillful sailors.
So, to all of you out there, unsure of the future or tired of doing things the way they have always been done; be your own agent of change. Chase the challenge! I “double-dog” dare you.