BHI Physicians Referral Program Surpasses 1000 participants
Alexandria, VA — The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) reports that enrollment in its Physician Referral Development Program surpassed the 1000 participant mark during the month of August and is on track to meet its goal of 1400 total enrollees by year end. The BHI Physician Program is designed to link dispensing professionals and primary care physicians at the local level. The program includes a training module (on CD-Rom) in “The Basics of Physician Marketing” which maps out clinical facts and statistics. It also provides comprehensive strategies and materials for educating physicians and their nursing/office staffs about hearing loss and creating patient referrals for evaluation and treatment.

“We continue to be amazed at the growth of this program,” says BHI executive director John Olive. “With a critical mass of over a thousand hearing professionals now participating, we are beginning to see what can happen with a major, nationwide initiative. As the program grows, our message takes on more credibility, and physicians are beginning to listen to what we say. With 80% of all cases of hearing loss still undiagnosed and untreated, there is enormous ‘patient potential’ out there, and primary care physicians are the universal key to those patients.”

Program enrollment is reportedly 52% audiologists and 48% hearing instruments specialists. According to BHI, for the 3rd Quarter of 2002 (June – August), hearing care professionals who are fully implementing the program reported selling an average of 2.2 additional hearing aids per week as a results of physician referrals. “Sales growth of 10 additional units per month represents a significant revenue increase for any dispensing practice in the country,” says Olive. “And bear in mind that these are very early results from people who have only been implementing the program for some part of 2002. Things will only improve as their relationships with the physicians mature.”

The program is simple and direct, according to BHI, and takes a commitment of about an hour and a half per week. “It is a very straightforward program,” says Olive, who has worked with physicians in various segments of the health care industry for 16 years. “There are very specific strategies and tactics that work with physicians, and lots of others that fail miserably. We built this program with actual input (on video) from the physicians themselves and from hearing care professionals who have been successful.”

Importantly, the program features an accredited 1-hour Continuing Medical Education (CME) course for physicians and nurses (also on CD) about hearing loss, its impact when untreated, and the fact that 90% of all cases will benefit from amplification and can be referred directly to dispensing professionals. Every enrolled hearing care professional receives unlimited supplies of these materials to enable referral relationship development with as many physicians as desired.

The program is open to every hearing care professional in the US and Canada. For more information, see the HR article about the program in the February 2002 HR (pages 26-28) and/or visit

New Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant Approved by FDA
Valencia, Calif — Advanced Bionics® (Bionics) Corp announced that it has received approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada to market its high resolution CLARION® CII Bionic Ear™ System. The company begins distribution of the system immediately.

The FDA approval also lowers the age at implantation in the US from 18 months down to 12 months. The system is already available to Canadian children 12 months of age and older. “The FDA and Health Canada approvals of our high resolution system open the doors to a new level of sound fidelity for cochlear implant users,” says Jeff Greiner, president and co-CEO.

The system configuration will not include the separate component called the Positioner, which had been voluntarily discontinued by the company in the wake of concerns about cochlear implants and a potential link to some meningitis cases (see August HR News). Clinical data show that efficacy results of the new device are indistinguishable between systems configured with and without the Positioner, according to the company.

The FDA approval includes the company’s new High Resolution Sound Processing software, which had been in clinical trials for the last year. This software is designed to provide deaf adults and children with fine details of sound and a more natural hearing nerve response. “Ninety six percent of patients in the clinical trial preferred High Resolution Sound Processing to other conventional sound processing strategies,” says Mary Joe Osberger, PhD, director of clinical research. For more information, visit

AAO-HNS Elects Its First Female President
Alexandria, VA — Jennifer Derebery, MD, an otolaryngologist at the House Ear Clinic, Los Angeles, has become the first woman in the 106-year history of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) to be elected as its president for 2003-2004.

Derebery is the fourth physician from House Ear Clinic/House Ear Institute elected to this office. She serves as the clinic’s full-time specialist for diagnosing and treating allergy-related hearing loss and associated disorders such as dizziness, cochlear hydrops, and Meniere’s disease. She also has a specialization in autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), and is currently serving as a co-principal investigator in a NIH/ NIDCD-sponsored study on the treatment of autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED). She is also a clinical professor of otolaryngology at UCLA.