Chicago — Sona Hearing, LLC, a new division of hearing systems provider, Sonova Group, Stäfa, Switzerland, announced the it has created the Sona: Hearing Professional Advisory Council, developed to understand how to better help both patients with hearing loss and the hearing care professionals who serve them.

The first meeting of the Council was recently held in Chicago. Sona Hearing brought together 13 external experts in the hearing care industry from across the United States to advise the company on the current unmet needs in the hearing instrument marketplace. The company reportedly wanted to gain insight and trends from the hearing care professionals through the open dialogue obtained in an advisory council forum.

According to the company, topics discussed were the fact that approximately 17%, or 36 million Americans, report some hearing loss and that end users want a value-driven, quality hearing device to improve their overall quality of life.

Customer convenience was also a topic. Similar to the market for eye glasses, those who need a hearing instrument do not want to wait a week for their device. Rather, they want to leave the hearing care professional’s office with their hearing instruments in place to experience better hearing in their life immediately.

In terms of the needs of hearing care professionals, the Sona believes they desire a solution that is cost-effective, yet efficient in reducing administration and complexity while, most importantly, meeting the needs of their end users.

Sona’s advisors who attended the Council included many outside hearing loss professionals and academics, including:

Tricia Ashby, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA,Towson University,Towson, MD
Bopanna B. Ballachanda, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA,Premier Hearing Centers, Santa Fe, NM
William W. Dickinson, AuD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Denny P. Dingler, II, BC-HIS, Professional Hearing Centers, Inverness, FL
Timothy C Dunnigan, AuD, CCC-A, Advanced Hearing Technology, Naples, FL
Donald Hawley, MS, HAS, BC-HIS, Sound Advice Hearing Solutions, LLC, St. Petersburg, FL
Victoria A. Hingst, AuD, Advanced Hearing Technology, Naples, FL
Gail Linn, AuD, Potomac Audiology, Rockville, MD
Paul Pessis, AuD, North Shore Audio-Vestibular Lab, Highland Park, IL
David E. Rich, PhD, Binson’s Hearing Aid Services, LLC, Clarkston, MI
Sharon A. Sandridge, PhD, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Diane Schrager, MS, CCC-A, Private Practice, Arlington Heights, IL
Gregory D. Wales, BC-HIS, Wales Hearing Center, Alexandria, MN

Sona said in its press release that the advice and counsel obtained from these experts during the Advisory Council discussions will be used to better meet hearing aid patient needs as they roll out their new product line and business system across the U.S.