By Karl Strom, Editor-in-Chief
As the sophistication of hearing instruments grows more impressive each year, there also seems to be a concomitant temptation to focus only on technology and look past real-world benefits. It’s not hard to see why.
Each issue of HR and HRP is packed with new technology—from new directional algorithms to wireless communication devices. The Hearing Industries Association’s first-quarter 2013 figures show that a full 70% of all hearing aids dispensed feature some kind of wireless technology (see this month’s Just the Stats on page 34). However, marketing messages have to mean something to the people for whom they are intended.
I sometimes marvel at consumer ads that highlight the number of channels or adjustable parameters inside a hearing aid. While those of us in the hearing industry can get downright misty-eyed and poetic about how much easier it is to match a hearing loss to the target fitting, none of that really means much to the average consumer.
The success of any practice—and hence our industry—is to continue to convince people to take the next step in identifying and positively addressing their hearing loss. People need to understand that hearing care professionals are the ones who are uniquely qualified to help them hear better, improve communication with their spouse and family members, and allow them to listen to their favorite sports team on the radio without forcing their neighbors to do the same.
So let’s celebrate our great technology, but let’s not lose sight of the benefits!