What More Can the BHI do for You?

December 10, 2010

As we approach the 40th year that the Better Hearing Institute has conducted public relations and educational initiatives . We think it is important to briefly reflect on the past and the future of BHI. We are soliciting input from the hearing health industry, partners, and consumers on ideas for enhancing the effectiveness of BHI.

The evolution of the Better Hearing Institute has occurred in three distinct phases. Briefly:
        1973-1998:  leveraging celebrities who "overcame hearing loss" as a means of motivating people with hearing loss to seek a solution for their hearing loss; fun-runs and the collaborative Better Hearing and Speech Month. Past celebrities can be found under celebrity corner and heroes of the past. A full documentation of this activity has now been digitalized and is now available on the BHI website.

        1999-2004: Physician marketing program. A nationally representative study of the effectiveness of physician marketing was conducted by Kochkin upon assuming his current role as Executive Director of BHI. The study demonstrated the significant, positive impact of physician marketing on hearing aid sales.

        2005-present:  Develop and re-brand BHI to be more multi-dimensional, leveraging the relationship between hearing loss and quality of life. The mission of BHI is defined as  follows: BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss to benefit from proper treatment.  To support the BHI mission our key strategies and tactics are:

  • Publish nationally representative studies on the hearing loss population (MarkeTrak) and write consumer oriented articles and eGuides for the press and for the BHI website on the key issues: hearing loss, hearing solutions, hearing loss prevention.
  • Identify obstacles to hearing aid adoption and design public relations strategies and advocacy programs to overcome those obstacles.
  • Develop a presence on the Internet with the goal that the BHI website will be the go-to website for consumers; this includes development of a blogging community, discussion forum and validated on-line hearing test.
  • As a means of gaining recognition for hearing loss (often viewed as a benign condition by the press and public) develop relationships and partnerships with other causes shown to be linked with hearing loss such as diabetes,  Alzheimer's,  attention deficit disorder, depression, women's and men's health status, etc.
  • Support industry initiatives which advocate on behalf of the consumer of hearing aids such as the hearing aid tax credit initiative (www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org) and increasing the utility of hearing aids.
  • Develop resources for hearing health professionals that will help them to promote their practices at a local level.
In 2010 the BHI will have reached the milestone of more than one million BHI website visitors in a year spending close to a half-hour per visit and 5,000 media placements with media impressions exceeding one billion. We view this as just a start in our effort to become the most comprehensive resource for consumers, hearing health professionals and the healthcare industry. We are proud of our accomplishments and enthusiastic about the future of BHI; but we know we can do more to support the cause of better hearing.

We would both very much like to hear from the hearing health community stakeholders and your ideas on future directions we should take to promote hearing solutions.

Finally, we would like to thank our advisory councils, authors, bloggers and BHI Board for all of their contributions to the Better Hearing Institute; as a small non-profit we could not possibly have achieved what we did without their selfless service.

Sincerely yours,

Gordon Walker
President - Better Hearing Institute
Vice-President and General Manager - Knowles Electronics

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