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Safety Concerns Influence One in Five New Users to Adopt Hearing Aids

May 31, 2007


According to MarkeTrak VII as published in the April 2007 Hearing Journal, 20% of people planning to purchase hearing aids in the near future decided to do so because of safety concerns. In our view there are critical incidents which cause people to move from denial to actively seeking a solution for their hearing loss. Our deeper understanding of critical incidents leading to hearing solutions can serve as important input into BHI educational and public relations efforts. Using critical incidents introduces the human element into our research and helps the media relate to our statistical data. Using real life stories enables people with untreated hearing loss to vicariously recognize their own untreated hearing loss.

We would appreciate it if you would share with BHI patient stories around the issue of safety. In submitting these stories please disguise your patient's names but give contact information for yourself in case the media wants to get in touch with you. Recently I have become aware of 3 people with untreated hearing loss who have been killed because they did not hear the warning sounds of either a carbon monoxide alarm or the horn of a truck while riding a bicycle. I think by enlightening the public on the dangers associated with untreated hearing loss, that we can help avert injury and possibly death.

Please send your stories to skochkin@betterhearing.org with the subject heading "Safety Stories." Our first story is tentatively titled "Is your child safe when grandpa can't hear?" but we will take all safety stories (e.g. children, driving, on the job performance, home intruders etc).

For your reference here is an example of a story:
According to James Smith, an audiologist at Audiovestibular Associates in Anytown, USA he fit a 35 year old mother with her first hearing aids after she related a scary incident in her life. For the last 10 years she denied her hearing loss but received a rude wake-up-call when her child fell out of a tree in her backyard and broke his arm. She did not hear his screams; instead a neighbor heard the child's screams and helped her get the child to the emergency ward. The mother stated, "This incident which affected my precious child was a real wake-up call for me. I am so thankful that my child was able to get the help he needed in a timely fashion; I am lucky that the outcome was not tragic. I urge all parents and grandparents with untreated hearing loss to consider the safety issue when caring for their child or grandchild. After all as caretakers we are the eyes and ears of our children. And it is our responsibility to be vigilant to assure that our children do not come into harms way. "

Note: if as a hearing healthcare profession you don't ask new users the reasons for their coming to see you for their first hearing aids, on an on-going basis you should ask new customers something like this "So tell me what is the critical incident that caused you to seek out my services today?" --- not unlike a psychologist starting at the first therapy session "So tell me what brings you here today?". Most people will say something like "My hearing loss is getting worse" and then you would say "Please share with me how you came to that conclusion?"

Thank you for your help!

Regards,

Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Better Hearing Institute


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