Introduction - BHSM 2011 Media Campaign
For this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month, BHI and the Better Hearing and Speech Council are gearing up to inspire 100,00 people or more to take the newly updated, Across America Hearing Check Challenge (www.hearingcheck.org) by the end of May.
The Better Hearing and Speech Council (BHSC)—a coalition of national and local organizations dedicated to promoting high quality hearing health and hearing healthcare for all residents of the United States—is helping in the effort. The BHSC promises to leverage the spirit and power of collaboration so the opportunity for our messages to be heard increases exponentially. The idea for the BHSC was borne from a past program that lasted more than two decades (1975 - 1996).
We hope that you and your colleagues will join us in promoting hearing health during this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month. And we hope that you will rally people in your community to take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge.
To raise awareness of the online test, we’ve created a few click-through icons, which you can place on your home page. The icon should be hyperlinked directly to the Across America Hearing Check Challenge at www.hearingcheck.org. We also have prepared a toolkit of materials for you to use to promote hearing health and your practice during Better Hearing and Speech Month.
We’ve recently upgraded our online hearing test in both content and graphic design. The user printout integrates results from a validation study conducted by Kochkin & Bentler (2010) on 11,000 people with hearing loss. Of note, the online test proved to be predictive of both objective measures of hearing loss, using audiological equipment, and of subjective measures, using self and family evaluations of hearing loss. The test also correlated with the assessed impact of hearing loss on quality of life.
Our outreach materials also underscore the findings of the new BHI study revealing the financial dangers of leaving hearing loss unaddressed.
It’s time for our message to be heard. More than 34 million people in America already suffer from hearing loss. And it has become ever more evident that hearing loss is not a harmless condition. Hearing loss affects virtually every aspect of an individual’s life and seriously impedes quality of life, even income. Increasingly, research shows a correlation between hearing loss and other chronic medical conditions—including diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s.
I invite you to join BHI and the BHSC in our outreach. Each year, many in the hearing health community recognize Better Hearing and Speech month. But if we join efforts, our voices can be louder and our impact greater.
I’m confident that together, we can inspire 100,000 people to take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge (www.hearingcheck.org)during this year’s Better Speech and Hearing Month.
We have developed everything you'll need to quickly and effectively generate media and community interest. Not only will these materials help inspire people in your community to take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge and raise awareness of the importance of hearing health, but they will help increase patient appointments and physician referrals to your practice.
We developed these media materials for you to tailor and send to local print, radio, and TV reporters in your area. You can send them to health and lifestyle reporters by e-mail and/or mail. To make your media list, just call the local newspapers, radio and TV stations and ask for the names, addresses, and e-mail addresses of their health and lifestyle reporters.
If you e-mail the press materials, you can put in your subject line: "Local Angle on Better Hearing and Speech Month." Send any materials within the body of the email. All you need to do is open each of the documents, copy them, and paste them into your email. If you mail them, print the press release on your letterhead.
1. Online Hearing Test Icons. We urge every hearing health professional and health related organizations to include one of these hearing check icons on their home page as a means of encouraging people to take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge. By placing one of these icons prominently on your home page, you will help us meet our goal of inspiring 100,000 people to take the online hearing test during Better Hearing and Speech Month. And you will draw people who can be helped by your services into your practice.
2. Customizable Press Release. This press release is written to provide reporters with newsworthy information on Better Hearing and Speech Month, hearing health, and the Across America Hearing Check Challenge. Simply fill in the blanks with your own information, and it's ready to go.
3. Hearing Loss/Health Factsheet. While the press release focuses on the most newsworthy aspects of your story, reporters are not experts on hearing health. The purpose of this factsheet is to help put the importance of hearing health in context and to help reporters understand that hearing loss affects virtually every aspect of a person's life. This brief fact sheet gives information on the latest statistics on the incidence of hearing loss in the United States, statistics on how often hearing screenings are included in physical exams and on the use of hearing aids as well as the common signs of hearing loss.
4. News Feature Article: “Hearing Better May Mean Earning More”. You can distribute this article to patients and reporters. We urge you to take a copy of this article to your local editor, and ask them to run it. You are permitted to use and modify this BHI-developed article to promote your practice and encourage people in your community to take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge.
5.Income Study 1-page graphic: “Hearing Less Means Earning Less”. You can distribute this graphic to patients and reporters. It gives a clear sense of the impact hearing aids can have on income for people with hearing loss. It also provides a few bullet points on the key findings of BHI’s latest income study.
6. Income and hearing loss factsheet. This is a 2 page summary of the BHI income study as a handout to both the media and consumers.
7. Other resources. Links are provided to the following:
- Income Study: “MarkeTrak VIII: The efficacy of hearing aids in achieving compensation equity in the workplace”. Download BHI’s latest income study to read for yourself or to share with colleagues and reporters.
- Online Hearing Test Study: “The Validity and Reliability of the BHI Quick Hearing Check”. Based on the success of this study, we’ve completely redesigned our online hearing test to be more attractive and consumer friendly. In addition, at the end of the 5-minute hearing test, we’ve added a customized report that gives the user information on the status of their hearing loss and recommendations—which they can print and bring to their hearing health provider. Download the study to read the results for yourself.
- Consumer Brochure with Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Loss. This consumer brochure is a “Call to Action” for people to address their hearing loss. It answers basic questions about hearing loss and gives people the information they need to take the first steps in addressing their hearing health. This brochure is appropriate for handing out in physician offices, pharmacies, chiropractor offices and health fairs. They are available for ordering at BHI in packages of 100.
- BHI Quick Hearing Check. Your goal is to get thousands of local people to check their hearing without necessarily coming into your office. We view the screener as a motivating precursor to a full screening. You may print off the quick hearing check from the BHI website or order pads of the hearing check from BHI. Distribute these hearing checks to physician offices, senior centers, intermediate care facilities, drug stores, chiropractor offices, etc.—or simply distribute your business card with a simple message on the back, such as "Check your hearing at www.hearingcheck.org.”
Let Us Hear From You
We've prepared these materials to help you rally people in your community to take the Across America Hearing Check Challenge during Better Hearing and Speech Month and to raise awareness of the importance of hearing health—while spotlighting your practice within your local community. Please let us know what you think and how it goes. We welcome your suggestions for future programs.
Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D.
Better Hearing Institute