Exactly one year ago, at our first staff meeting of the new year, I enthusiastically announced to the Ida team that 2020 would be an exciting and glorious year. A few months later, a team member sarcastically commented that clearly, I do not have a future in fortune telling.
In my defense, the past year turned out very differently than anyone expected. Throughout the year, I often thought of a quote from Robert Burns´ poem To a Mouse: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I think this quote quite aptly describes the times we live in.
In every crisis lies an opportunity
The pandemic has caused disruption for people with hearing loss and hearing care services around the world. But in every crisis lies an opportunity to develop and grow. During lockdown, many hearing care providers found new, creative ways to support their clients. The pandemic also created greater awareness about hearing loss in the general public due to the difficulties of communicating with facemasks. And in many countries, special legislation has been passed recognizing hearing care as an essential service.
Demand for personal support increasing
The pandemic has also highlighted how much people value the support of their hearing care provider. In the midst of this global crisis, the demand for person-centered hearing care services has only increased. As part of our new flagship project, Future Hearing Journeys, we recently conducted a survey among people with hearing loss and professionals around the world. The survey received an overwhelming response of more than 1,500 completions across different stakeholder groups – a reaction showing the timeliness and pronounced interest in this topic.
PCC a crucial competitive parameter
We have just started analyzing the input from the survey, but we can already see some interesting findings. For instance, people with hearing loss chose individual counseling as one of their most important priorities and rated counseling higher than access to low-cost hearing technology. The survey also revealed that professionals consider person-centered care (PCC) to be one of the most important trends in future hearing care. These results indicate that PCC will be a crucial competitive parameter for hearing care professionals and the industry in the coming years.
Collaborating to prepare for the future
While we can’t plan for the future, we can prepare. This is the philosophy behind the Future Hearing Journeys project and the reason why the Ida Institute has involved stakeholders from across the hearing care sector in exploring what future hearing care might look like, how professionals can best meet the needs of tomorrow’s clients, and how people with hearing loss can get the care they need and want. Armed with these insights, we will be better able to navigate an evolving landscape of new technologies, consumer demands, and business models, in which the only constant is change.
We look very much forward to continuing this work and sharing the outcomes with you in the new year.
We wish you all a very happy and successful 2021.