The Hearing Care Manager of the Future

Hearing healthcare is changing. Advances in technology and access to hearing care services, the relatively low percentage of people with hearing loss who take action, and the changing population are among the main reasons for this change. In times of change, we need new ideas and new directions. During the Ida Institute's Vision 2020 process, we set out to describe what it will take to become the Hearing Care Manager of the Future in this altered professional landscape. We are building the hearing care journey of the future with a view to create sustainable, relevant services that embrace new technology while highlighting patient centered care. We're eager to share with you the products of our collaborative work from the last 14 months, and are eager to continue developing tools and ideas that will help audiologists flourish as they become the Hearing Care Managers of the Future.

Are You Future-Proof?

What Skills Do You Need for 2020?

What does the Hearing Care Manager of the Future look like? As audiology continues to change and evolve, we've put together a list of the skills we think hearing care managers will need in order to thrive in the year 2020. You may already be using some of these skills in your practice, you might have thought about others, and some might not be possible for a few more years (we don't really expect anyone to deliver services with drones — yet!). We hope to stimulate your curiosity and motivate you to work towards a full-filling future practice. In addition to what skills will be needed in the future, we also want to know what resources you will need to gain new skills. Let us know more about what information, education, and tools will help you get ready for 2020. Click below to take our quick quiz, and find out if you're future-proof!


Join the Discussion

What does your audiological practice look like today, and how do you expect it to change? Whether you're considering a shift in practice for the first time, or already certifiably future-proof, we want to know what you're doing now and what you hope to be doing in five years' time. Click here to visit our Forum and join the discussion.

Looking to the Future of Audiology

Some participants in our Vision 2020 process made video selfies for us to help address big topics and kick start the conversation. We've begun to share some of these videos in our Forum. Click here to view the videos and share your thoughts.
Go to Forum

Ideas Worth Hearing

Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling

Allow people to share personal experiences with hearing loss through videos and stories!
Communication Card

Communication Card

Give clients a card so they can be seen quickly and easily, even with no appointment!

From the editor

Are You a Hearing Care Manager of the Future?

In the future, hearing care professionals will need to seek innovative strategies to create relevance, value and viability for their new role as a Hearing Care Manager of the Future.
See the presentations of the two Hearing Care Manager of the Future groups: Communication for Life and Fit for the Future.

Juggling can be a metaphor for the way hearing care professionals will need to balance the demands of day-to-day patient care with the external pressures of changing business models and disruptive technologies. At Ida Institute’s Hearing Care Manager of the Future seminar held February 23-24 in Skodsborg, Denmark, a meaningful and pragmatic step was made to answering these demands.

During the past 14 months, the Ida Institute collaborated with more than 100 partners globally to consider “big questions” about the future of hearing healthcare, Vision 2020, and work to establish a possible vision for the future of the profession.

The Hearing Care Manager of the Future is Someone Who:

·        Will be able to reimburse for non-technical aspects (it’s not just about the hearing aid) ·        Makes their value recognized and works towards public awareness of good hearing ·        Redefines themselves from running a hearing clinic to running a shop ·        Acknowledges the new ageing population (75 years old is not old anymore) ·        Is competent and confident in skills base and counseling 

Outside Their Comfort Zones

As hearing healthcare changes, audiologists are being forced to look at their roles from a new perspective. Ida has always seen patient centered care as key to a successful appointment and long-term, positive outcomes for patients. With the increased availability of self-adjusting hearing aids, and hearing aid recommendations coming from big box retailors rather than clinics, the relationships built through counseling sessions will be even more crucial to a hearing care manager’s success. Seminar guest presenter Liselotte Lyngsø of futurist company Future Navigator invited participants to move out of their comfort zones and literally juggle balls printed with the words Change of Perspective, Value Creation, and Reality Check — three concepts that help people think innovatively and adapt to change. Instead of fearing change, participants were told to look for the opportunities, ask questions, and focus on things they didn’t already know. In fact, the more unskilled a person feels, the greater the opportunity to learn.

Individually we can change our practice, influence our colleagues and associates, motivate our clients. With this ripple effect, together we can change the world of hearing care.

Trish Carraher, Hearing Therapist, New Zealand

A Vision for the Future

What are these new opportunities for the Hearing Care Manager of the Future? Looking at audiology from both a medical model and rehabilitative model, two projects emerged from the seminar that will reshape hearing healthcare while bringing meaning to the patient and clinician journeys. The Ida Institute is in the process of synthesizing all the inputs, discussions and outcomes of these two project groups.

Communication for Life

One project idea took the perspective that success for the future will be built around Communication for Life.  Group members believe that hearing care managers of the future could become communication specialists who would follow with patient care throughout the lifespan. Newborn hearing screenings are already standard practice, but if the relationship between patient and hearing care professional continues beyond that point, patients would come to know and trust the hearing care professional as the person to turn to when they encounter difficulties. Regular hearing screenings and hearing loss prevention would ensure that clinicians have the knowledge and familiarity with the patient to identify a problem before the patient might even notice it.

“Everyone will be used to having a communication specialist in their life from when they’re born,” said Heidi Limeroff, General Manager for Can:Do Hearing, Australia.

The concept encompasses family communication, educational and vocational access, social and emotional engagement and independent living. Audiologists would be required to take on screening, prevention and advocacy roles.

Fit for the Future

The second group looked at the skills or ‘DNA’ hearing care managers of the future will need to have. Like many professionals in changing industries, audiologists will be facing a competitive skills gap as the rehabilitative aspects become more essential. The group’s solution, Fit for the Future, is centered on the development of an Ida Academy, where hearing care managers can conduct self-assessments, identify gaps in their skill sets, and continue their education.

Professionals and patient mentors would be available for those continuing their educations, while involving patients in the educational process would produce more evidence of behavior changes.  Participating in the Ida Academy would also provide a platform to network and share research and knowledge.

“We’re focusing on human dynamic skills rather than product (knowledge),” said Bettina Turnbull, professional development manager for Connect Hearing and vice-president of the Australian College of Audiology.

Don’t be scared of the hard truths, recognise they’re coming and find a way to work with them. Perhaps the biggest challenge is working with colleagues and others in the profession to see that a change is needed and is needed soon!

Caitlin Grenness, lecturer, The University of Melbourne

Future-Proofing Timeline

In the coming months, Ida Institute will further develop the groups’ concepts to create practical tools that will enable hearing care professionals to start making strides towards becoming a Hearing Care Manager. 

 “The innovation and insights that emerged from the two groups show that in 2020, patient-professional hearing care relationships and healthcare delivery may look significantly different than they do today,” said Ida Managing Director Lise Lotte Bundesen. “While these changes may present many challenges to the profession, they also represent an opportunity for the profession to build a strong bridge to the future that recognizes the importance of the human dynamics of hearing loss.”

Ida will continue to use future-based idea development and the appreciative approach to develop a future-proofing timeline. To fill the need for different exercises in counseling, change, tele-health and future-planning, the timeline will include activities and initiatives for public, private, and academic preparation. “This will help hearing care managers track back from the hearing care manager journey and profile we are creating for 2020, and outline the steps of needed changes,” added Lise Lotte. “The future of hearing healthcare is already here, we just need to embrace it.”