Before launching into blatant and shameless self-promotion about our new Web site, The Hearing Industry Resource (HIR), I need to explain the changes that led to its development. I also need to come clean: I’m an incurable print addict. Delivered to my door each morning are two newspapers, and I frequently buy a third during lunchtime. Each day you can find me poring over newspapers and dozens of magazines and newsletters in the same manner JFK conspiracy theorists examine the Zapruder film. This obsession has turned my basement into a firetrap, and brought threats from my exasperated wife: “You don’t need to store that stuff anymore; it’s all available online,” she says. Et tu, Brute?

The fact is that I love the utility, touch, and feel of print, and still firmly believe it’s the best way to convey important information—particularly technical or complex articles and news. But the world is changing, and even I have to admit this fact. Audiences for newspapers and other traditional media are fragmenting, and HR has been a major player in the “hearing e-world” with our Web offerings since 2000. The HR archives on this Web site feature virtually everything we’ve published during the past decade. An average of 19,000 unique monthly visitors rely on our Web site, with 800 to 1,300 professionals navigating to it each weekday to read hearing-related news, search for articles using keywords, access our weekly e-newsletter, The Insider, and, in turn, e-mail an impressive number of articles and news items to their own e-mail lists of coworkers and colleagues. It’s clear that many people use the online version of HR and the HR Worldwide Registry in the same manner that I use the print versions. Also available at our Web site are Reuters and other news feeds, the HR archives, Web polls, and perhaps the most comprehensive calendar listing in hearing care.

HR‘s online audience is diverse, with nearly a quarter (24%) of visitors coming from outside the United States and Canada. In rank-order, professionals from the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, and Italy are now avid HR readers. You may have noticed more international editorial contributors in the last 6 to 8 years as the industry has become a truly global market. We also publish an HR-HPR International Edition each fall that is distributed in Europe and at the EUHA convention in Germany—and, yes, is also online.

As a result of the popularity of these Web offerings, you may have also noticed subtle changes in HR‘s content during the last year or so. HR‘s parent company, Ascend Media, is a big believer in online media/magazine integration. With an eye on increasing the number of editorial feature pages, it has required its editors to rely more on our weekly e-newsletters and Web sites to convey news, events, calendar items, as well as “department-type” news (eg, Product Showcase, Industry Personalities, and Information Please). I’m the first to admit that this print-addicted editor has protested and dragged his feet on some of these changes. But, overall, the changes have been positive.

Which leads us to The Hearing Industry Resource… In late 2007, we realized that, by integrating the offerings of HR and HPR, we would create what Internet geeks call an “unique content opportunity”: namely, an Internet supersite with the most comprehensive information available about hearing-related articles, news, science and research, events, technology, and products. In short, The Hearing Industry Resource at is a one-stop clearinghouse for hearing care professionals (note: you can also use the old URL to access the site and still use the same keyword search functions). The new Web site features easy-to-navigate sections that include specialized information and breaking news on hearing aids, hearing testing, diagnostics, earmolds and accessories, pediatrics, implants, and more. Additionally, there’s a video library within the Media Section of the Web site—an exciting area that we intend to build into an exceptional resource. What’s nice about HIR is that not only do you have the same information that was previously available on the HR Web site, but you are also able to draw upon the product and company information offered by Hearing Products Report. In other words, virtually every product and technology conceivable for dispensing professionals—along with specialized information (including video) on those products—will be available at one Web site.

To celebrate the launch of HIR, we’re holding a sweepstakes that you can enter to win one of 10 iPods. So, that’s one more reason you’ll want to check it out. Please go to the right side of the home page and look for more information on how to enter.

Karl Storm