New Ida Seminar Strengthens Focus on the Patient’s Voice

By Jeanette Blom

Ida’s latest innovation seminar, “The Hearing Journey: What Matters to You?,” took place in Skodsborg, Denmark, from October 14 – 16, 2017.

The aim of the seminar was to explore concrete ways of improving the hearing journey and pave the way for a more person-centered approach to hearing care. The seminar was the first time that people with hearing loss and representatives from a number of influential patient organizations were invited by Ida to participate directly in the innovation process, side by side with audiologists and opinion leaders within the field of hearing care.

“The relationship between hearing care professionals and clients is changing towards a more equal rapport based on mutual trust and dialogue,” says Managing Director Lise Lotte Bundesen. “With this initiative we wish to include the voice of patients directly in our innovation processes. We believe this is a very timely and important step forward which will enable us to strengthen the patients’ perspective.”

Understand, Explore, Create   

The seminar was conducted as a collaborative innovation process, alternating between creative exercises and group work, ethnographic videos and plenary sessions.

“Our approach to innovation is inspired by design thinking,” explains Lise Lotte. “Together with the participants, we work to understand and explore the different challenges, perspectives and practices. This allows us to identify needs and opportunities that can inspire the creation of tangible tools and resources to improve the hearing journey.”

The seminar also included a presentation by Professor Ayo Wahlberg from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen who gave an inspirational talk about what living with a chronic condition implies. Highlighting the difference between having hearing loss and living with hearing loss, he stressed the impact on families, relatives and friends, and the important role played not only by healthcare practitioners but also by patient associations in “making it work”.

A Variety of Insights

Many issues were raised during the seminar, and a number of recurrent themes emerged from the discussions. The participants touched upon subjects such as stigma and self-stigmatization, the importance of involving the family and other communication partners in the rehabilitation process and the need for a multi-dimensional model of care, which addresses the psychological and emotional aspects of hearing care.

Many participants called for a new narrative to describe hearing loss in order to break the stigma and taboos about hearing loss. They also discussed the need to define a new terminology that can help hearing care professionals explain hearing loss to their clients in less technical terms, and the idea of developing a “human audiogram” came up several times. 

The participants also discussed the need for more education and awareness raising to inform the general public about the value of hearing, and to sensitize the hearing care profession and decision makers to the need for a more person-centered approach to hearing care. Finally, many participants stressed the importance of addressing the social, cultural and economic barriers to efficient hearing rehabilitation.    

“The seminar produced an abundance of insights and concrete ideas that will feed into our development process,” says Lise Lotte. “We look very much forward to working with the participants in the coming months on transforming these ideas into new projects and tangible tools that can help people on their hearing journey and enable hearing care professionals to strengthen their counseling.”