A future study of hearing care: The first Future Hearing Journeys report is here

By Clint McLean

Let the first ever Future Hearing Journeys report inspire you as you prepare for the next 5-10 years. The report, launched at the AAA conference this week by the Ida Institute, presents insights and analysis from 60 interviews, 6 focus groups, a global survey of almost 1500 people, two workshops, a process of trend analysis and scenario creation, countless hours of desktop research, and decades of accumulated experience with hearing care. The report is enriched with knowledge and learnings from subject matter experts from all horizons: people with hearing loss, industry representatives, hearing care professionals, and academics, educators, and students.

The report illuminates elements in future hearing care to consider preparing for and potential pitfalls to avoid, while forecasting such things as shifts in delivery models, evolving patient preferences, and changes in education. It explores expected competition in the hearing care sector, identifies where professionals are investing most heavily for the future, and examines the changing role of hearing care professionals. Use the Future Hearing Journeys report to help navigate an uncertain hearing care future.

One key finding in the report is that 86% of the 432 people with hearing loss who responded to the global survey have a preference for purchasing hearing devices from a hearing care professional rather than online or in-store. And despite more than a year of COVID restrictions and safety concerns, consumers rate access to in-person appointments as more important than the cost of hearing aids.

Among other notable lessons from the report, Ida’s Managing Director, Lise Lotte Bundesen, highlights the importance of recognizing technology as a way to achieve better outcomes and not as an outcome in and of itself. “Though technology is the constant companion of anyone future gazing, we found that the way technology will be received – how it will make us feel – is key to industry and professionals thriving 5-10 years from now. While technological advances are expected and welcome, they are not sufficient on their own – consumers are interested in how tech will improve their experiences and want to feel secure with the privacy and regulation around technology.”

Ranking high among priorities for all sectors, according to our insights, is person-centered care (PCC). It is seen as a way for consumers to get quality care, for industry to support professionals, and for both to humanize the technology behind so much of hearing care. In our survey, academics pointed to person-centered care as the second most important opportunity for hearing care professionals in the coming years, trumped only by telehealth.

The global population of people with hearing loss is growing, making quality hearing care more important than ever. Read the full report and start preparing to make the future of hearing care even brighter.