Phonak announced that in 2023, Phonak U—an annual event focused on the needs of upcoming audiologists—brought together more than 53 students and professionals from 36 different university programs around the country, and featured a virtual event from the Second City comedy theatre.

Phonak U was established in 2004 for audiology students as a way to educate, experience real-world situations, gain insight on current technologies and best practices, and build trusted partnerships with Phonak. This Second City virtual event provided an opportunity for students to enhance their counseling skills through improv, according to the company.

Over the years, Phonak U has connected with thousands of audiology students to increase their value as an audiologist and deepen their professional skillset outside of the classroom, the company says.

Learning Through Second City 

Second City Works is the professional services arm of the Second City comedy theater that brought forth superstar talents like Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Mike Myers, and so many more. This renowned program works with businesses and professional organizations using “yes, and” and other improvisational techniques to facilitate positive and effective communication. 

Because there is a connection between the improv techniques and the counseling methods hearing care professionals use when working with patients the organizer of the event, Steve Hallenbeck, AuD, recruited the Second City Works teams for an evening where students honed their counseling skills through improv while learning, laughing, and networking. 

“This event was a lot of fun,” said one student involved in the event. “When I went to the clinic after the event, I found myself implementing some of the skills we had practiced and my appointments were very successful! I think using improv to improve clinical skills is a fantastic idea and was well worth the time!”

Along with the live virtual improv session, Phonak U provides curated self-paced online learning content to deliver the necessary audiological and technical information to make the event truly unique. Phonak is continuing to make the self-paced learning available at

To learn more and access the Phonak U 2023 learning resources, click here.

Further reading: Phonak Unveils Program to Enhance Cognitive Health Through Hearing Optimization

Photo: Stock image courtesy of Phonak