Eversound, a company that provides assistive listening technology and social engagement applications to senior living communities, has announced its intention to provide teleaudiology services in these same centers and is actively seeking hearing care professionals to join their efforts. The Boston-based company initially plans to roll out their new hearing care services—which will include testing, evaluation, counseling, hearing aid trial and fitting, follow-up visits, and ongoing product maintenance—in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California. It then plans to expand its services to their over 1200 senior living communities with about 130,000 residents.
Founded in 2015 in Cornell University’s eLab Business Accelerator by Jacob (Jake) Reisch, Matt Reiners, and Devin Jameson, Eversound has developed a turn-key wireless listening headphone system specifically for senior living communities and their residents who have hearing impairment and/or cognitive issues. Eversound’s wireless headsets can be used anywhere from large groups to one-on-one interactions to amplify conversations, increasing residents’ speech understanding and focus for group fitness classes, Movie Nights, Game Nights, and discussion groups. The headphones are specially designed to focus on voice clarity, include a volume control, and are ergonomically designed for users who may have manual dexterity issues. An Eversound membership also includes access to a proprietary activity library composed of hundreds of different activity programming ideas, including recorded video programs and turn-key guided programming.
This video gives you a peak at some of the ways in which Eversound headphones are used in senior living communities:
With its new Hearing Health Program, the company has its sights on a complete hearing/listening solution for the senior living population in the United States.
“What we believe is that hearing healthcare can go beyond being technical and convenient,” says Eversound Co-founder and CEO Jake Reisch. “And it could be fun and uplifting for these residents. Residents in senior living communities aren’t just craving connection, they’re craving true engagement. So why not build a hearing health process that is filled with moments of meaningful connection, right? How can we bring ongoing moments of joy to somebody who has less opportunities for these moments of engagement than we do?”
Eversound employs a team of trained experience managers who first go into a community and host Hearing Health parties to educate residents on the importance of hearing healthcare. “We make it as fun as humanly possible,” says Reisch. “Much of the information is gamified to directly involve residents, help demystify hearing loss and help them to more easily decide to the take the next step in seeking treatment for their hearing loss. They’re in a more positive mindset when they schedule their initial teleaudiology hearing test. At that visit, they meet with an online licensed hearing professional who conducts and evaluates the audiogram and provides them next-step counseling while our Eversound facilitators are with them onsite, fully supporting them throughout the process. In some cases, the audiogram results indicate that residents just need to utilize our headphones more often. In other cases, results indicate the need for hearing aids, and the hearing care professional then assists them on their journey.
It’s obvious Reisch is on a mission and believes in the positive impact that better hearing has on older adults. Reisch and Reiners started the company in response to their own visits with aging loved ones at senior community centers. “We were just shocked that they weren’t getting access to treatment for their hearing loss when they were in a senior living community—and they obviously would benefit from hearing treatment,” says Reisch. “We did a lot of research and learned just how devastating untreated hearing loss is and how many older adults go untreated. The more we dug into it, the more obsessed we became with creating easy-to-use solutions for the age-80+ population in senior living communities. Fast forward to where we’re at today, and we’re now working with about 1200 senior living communities all over the country. They’re relying on us to keep residents connected to the people and to the experiences that make life meaningful. We see our new Hearing Health Program as a logical extension of this mission.”
Obviously, local hearing care professionals play a key role in the hearing healthcare ecosystem, but access to quality hearing care remains limited, says Reisch. A large percentage of residents find travel extremely difficult, while many others are simply unable to travel outside the walls of the community. He says there’s a shortage of licensed hearing care professionals who—due primarily to logistics and practical business constraints like testing equipment and staff time—can adequately service older adults in senior centers. “By leveraging a trained Eversound facilitator and a virtual licensed professional, we can more broadly increase access to hearing care for the age-80+ population, which is really what we’re focusing on. So many of our communities have found it difficult to establish a relationship with providers who can take significant time out of their practices to visit the senior community, and it should be acknowledged that older adults with greater levels of hearing loss often require a higher level of service… Our fully facilitated model is specifically designed to ensure that offsite family members or friends can remotely take part in the teleaudiology appointment and can be there for their loved one. So, it’s not just about facilitating a better resident-clinician interface, there’s also this great impact and convenience level for the family members involved, as well.”
One of the big keys to Eversound’s success has been in the personality types of the people being hired as experience managers. “We like to hire educators and entertainers who also have a deep altruistic desire to support vulnerable populations,” says Reisch. “Those personalities combined with some of our processes make the entire experience really fun, while also maintaining a high level of care. That’s what we’re really focused on: how do we make this effective, yet fun?”
One of Eversound’s first steps in pursuing a future in hearing health was to promote hearing healthcare veteran Andrew Hebert to Chief Operating Officer. Hebert, formerly the President of the EarQ national network of independent hearing care providers, joined Eversound in January 2021, bringing more than a decade of hearing health experience to the organization.
According to the company, the Eversound Hearing Health Program offers a range of popular rechargeable hearing aids and warranty packages at highly competitive pricing as well as consistent concierge-level onsite service to manage device cleaning and any minor repairs. The Eversound Hearing Health Program is currently being rolled out in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California, with national expansion planned soon for part-time and full-time hearing care professionals starting in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas in coming months.
Hearing care professionals who are interested in “bringing more fun to the hearing care process for older adults” are welcome to reach out to Eversound by email at: [email protected]
About the author: Karl Strom is editor in chief of The Hearing Review and has been reporting on hearing healthcare issues for over 25 years. HR thanks Kim Rawn for her help with this story.