Hearing benefits that include access to an extensive hearing aid formulary can play a significant role in ensuring the satisfaction of health plan members, according to two new nationwide surveys of consumers and hearing care providers announced and conducted by Amplifon Hearing Health Care. Key findings from the surveys are presented in a new white paper entitled “Hearing Health Care: More Choices, Better Outcomes,” available now for download.
The survey of 602 consumers, conducted by an independent global market research firm, indicated overall positive feelings about experiences with hearing care providers. Factors driving this satisfaction included quality of care, staff knowledgeability, office cleanliness, and savings on hearing aids. Based on the survey results, a broad availability of hearing aid brands is also an important factor in the consumer experience. Among the key findings:
- Consumers strongly believe (7.8 on a 1-10 scale) that their hearing care providers should have access to a wide range of hearing aid brands and the freedom to choose the hearing aid that best serves each patient;
- Consumers rely heavily (8.4 on a 1-10 scale) on their provider to recommend the most appropriate treatment and hearing aid options;
- Up to 77% of consumers indicated they want to know which brands and product options are available from a hearing care provider before purchasing hearing aids.
In a separate, concurrent survey of 200 hearing care providers, respondents expressed many of the same sentiments as consumers and voiced a strong desire to offer patients a broad selection of hearing aid options. Other findings from the provider survey included:
- A strong belief (9.4 on a 1-10 scale) that extensive product choice contributes to improved patient communication, ability to meet lifestyle needs, and increased satisfaction with the hearing aid purchase;
- A perception that a limited range of product options was a contributor to a negative patient experience;
- Reports that a growing number of patients request specific brands of hearing aids.
The white paper also includes discussion of the significant health impacts associated with unused or underutilized hearing aids. Specifically, individuals with untreated hearing loss are at an increased risk for depression, dementia, injury-causing falls, and social isolation. Finally, the document recommends seven key attributes to seek in a hearing benefit besides access to all major hearing aid brands.
“The results of these surveys paint a very clear picture that extensive product selection, coupled with a provider’s expertise and recommendations, plays an important role in the satisfaction of health plan members,” said Guillaume Bonniol, senior vice president, Amplifon Hearing Health Care. “Ultimately, the right hearing benefit can help health plan decision-makers achieve their goal of creating an exceptional member experience and improving member health outcomes.”
“Hearing Health Care: More Choices, Better Outcomes” is available for download here.