Ida Institute, Naerum, Denmark, plans to introduce A Possible Patient Journey, a practical tool to assist hearing care professionals and their patients in charting each patient’s unique experiences of hearing loss, at the upcoming AudiologyNOW! Conference in Dallas, on April 1 to 5.
A Possible Patient Journey invites users to explore past and potential future experiences to gain a fuller appreciation of an individual’s unique hearing loss “journey” and increase the potential for positive outcomes.

Developed by the Institute’s faculty and staff, the patient journey model represents the collaborative thinking of 65 hearing and health care professionals from around the world who participated in the Institute’s first seminar series, “The Process of Defining Hearing.”  

“Our goal is to provide a starting point for discussion by sharing phases and milestones along the journey of hearing loss that have been identified through a collaboration of hearing and health care professionals from diverse cultures and hearing care models,” says Lise Lotte Bundesen, director of the Institute  “A Possible Patient Journey is designed to assist hearing care professionals in facilitating communication with patients and their families, with colleagues, and with students.”

"Ida seminar participants are very excited about the potential of the patient journey to benefit the field of audiology because it provides a simple, accessible way of explaining a complex reality,” says Dr Kristina English, Ida Institute faculty member; associate professor, University of Akron; and president-elect of the American Academy of Audiology. "We can already envision many opportunities to develop this concept further, such as in models that illustrate the audiologist’s and the relatives’ journeys. The Institute’s next seminar series will focus on exploring the Movement phase of the patient journey.”

Patricia Kricos, PhD, professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida, attending a recent Ida Institute seminar on “The Process of Defining Hearing.”

The new model uses broad phases and suggests experiences typical of each phase to enhance practitioner and patient understanding of the broader context of hearing loss.

“Most patient histories have roots long before the hearing loss is recognized and continue long after the last visit with the audiologist,” says Christine DePlacido, Ida Institute faculty member and senior lecturer and program leader for the Audiology Department at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. “By understanding the patient journey, audiologists can address the entire patient experience and together with their patient gain better outcomes.”

The six phases are derived from more than 8 months of collaboration in Ida Institute seminars and through post-seminar online forums and discussion groups and include:
•    Pre-Awareness – Patient is experiencing communication problems but may be “managing” without acknowledging the hearing problem; may also be bewildered or frustrated; family and friends may begin to notice patient’s hearing difficulties
•    Awareness – Patient realizes that hearing loss is impacting social and work life; may recognize the problem and begins to map the problems it causes; may “self test” by raising TV volume or attempting to control other environmental sounds
•    Movement – Patient reaches a “tipping point” and is ready to consult a health care professional; gathers information about hearing loss from a variety of sources including personal network, general practitioner, media and Web
•    Diagnostics – Patient actively seeks referrals to hearing care professional; meets with hearing care professional for interview and case history, hearing test, recommendations – leading to decision making
•    Rehabilitation – Patient takes action by seeking counseling, treatment, and hearing-solution fitting; considers other assistive devices. In this context, patient develops a communication strategy that leads to acceptance or rejection of the recommendations of the hearing care professional
•    Post-Clinical – Patient undergoes a process of adaption and change; observes social impact, and continues to self-evaluate success or failure of treatment outcome – problem is resolved or patient now becomes aware of new problems

The Institute recognizes that A Possible Patient Journey is only one of many ways to approach the experience of hearing loss. As with all models, it cannot fully depict all of the complexities of a patient’s journey of hearing loss but it can be used to foster discussion that may challenge, re-model, or re-configure the experiences depicted.

To assist in addressing such discussions as well as the complexities of culture, health care structures, medical/retail models of care and other factors that impact the patient journey, the Ida Institute has created an online template at that enables practitioners to create individual patient journey maps.  My Ida membership is required to access the online patient journey tool.  Membership is free at and open to hearing and care professionals and all others interested in the dynamics of hearing loss.

Ida Institute will distribute A Possible Patient Journey at AudiologyNOW! from the Institute’s exhibit booth, #2110 during conference exhibit hours. 

Established in 2007 with a grant from the William Demant and Wife Ida Emilie Foundation, the Ida Institute is a a nonprofit independent educational institute located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Named in honor of Ida Emilie Demant, the Institute seeks to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics of hearing loss from its recognition to its resolution – the patient journey. By serving as a catalyst for knowledge sharing and the development of innovative and practical tools, the Institute assists hearing care professionals in helping hearing impaired people address the physical, psychological, and social challenges of hearing loss.

[Source: Ida Institute]