creating a new social norm for hearing care
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If the people we want to reach do not consider hearing aids to be relevant to them, then the ready-made attitudes that are currently available to them are obviously sending out the wrong message, because it's telling them that they should be avoiding hearing aids.

We therefore need to give them a new set of "ready-made attitudes" that point them in the right direction. This means changing the social norm.

People form attitudes in two different ways, depending on how relevant or important something is to them: "ready-made" attitudes, or forming them directly from the raw ingredients. If we want to shape attitudes to hearing care then we need to understand how both of these work and how to influence them.

Attitudes vary in strength (or valency). At one extreme we have very strong, positive attitudes, where someone will generally like something and therefore want to approach it. At the other end we have strongly negative, where someone will generally dislike something and want to avoid it. But in the middle, we have a neutral (or ambivalent) attitude.

Attitudes work on a scale of strength: negative, neutral, positive

The world is an incredibly complex place. There are so many things competing for our attention and demanding things from us that somehow we need to make sense of it all: to work out what's good for us and what's not. We need some way of quickly assessing what to avoid and what to approach.

Within the context of this discussion, the term “reduced hearing” is used to describe hearing that is below “normal” as defined by the World Health Organisation and applies to those who use an aural language as their primary language. As the Deaf Community have their own language and social structure they are currently outside of the scope of this document, although some of the material presented here may be considered relevant.

Part Three:
The Response of Hearing Aid Manufacturers

Scales showing Yours on one side and Theirs on the otherSo far in this series we have mainly looked at the impact of commoditisation and the accessibility of information on hearing care practitioners. But hearing aid manufacturers are just as vulnerable, as we shall see, partly from the changes in consumer behaviour and partly from the way they maintain the relationships with their key channels. Understanding these relationships and their impact on the Consumer are the key to minimising the risks, maintaining margins and reducing the likelihood of outsiders encroaching on their market.

Part Two:
The Response of Traditional Hearing Care

One umbrella stands out from a crowd of other umbrellasIn Part One we saw how a combination of increasing commoditisation and the accessibility of information has forever changed the behaviour and expectations of consumers. We also saw how vulnerable traditional hearing care is to these changes in which expertise is slowly but surely sidelined by consumer knowledge, and the price needs justifying as never before.

In this part we'll be reviewing the three main ways that traditional hearing care has responded so far, before looking at what constitutes true differentiation and how hearing care practices should seek to differentiate themselves.

Part One:
Hearing Care in the Age of Commoditisation & Information

Conveyor belt with lots of cardboard boxes on it marked hearing aidsTraditional hearing care is facing unprecedented threat from increased commoditisation and accessibility of information.

These two trends are not unique to hearing care. Many industries and professions today face the same crisis, and some have not survived because they have been unable to adapt to the way the world is changing or because consumer behaviour has moved on and left them behind.

This series of three articles has been written to explain how these drivers are affecting traditional hearing care and their implications for the future of hearing aid provision. We will look at the different paths the industry and profession might take as a response to these changes in consumer behaviour and look ahead to see where each of those paths lead.

The mistake of many successful businesses since lost to the onslaught of progress has been to adapt “too little too late”, imagining that the impact of the changes are a problem to be dealt with tomorrow as their effects begin to bite, rather than building the foundations necessary for sustainability now.

The underlying purpose of these articles is to make it easier for the hearing care industry to lay those foundations now.


This presentation was given at 5th International Oticon Conference 2012 to around 500 hearing care professionals from around the world on 25 August 2012 at the Copenhagen Opera House in Denmark.

The total running time is just over 1 hour and is segmented into 6 parts for easy viewing.

Though it may be tempting just to watch the first part, we highly recommend watching the presentation in its entirety as it contains never-before presented material that has been developed to equip and empower hearing care professionals, hearing aid manfucturers, social marketers and charities to forever change the way the public think about hearing aids.

Audira would like to thank Oticon for the opportunity to share this message with a wider audience and for making the video of the presentation available.

Be you when the moment counts - example of destination marketing for hearing technologyThis is PART 2 of a series of two articles which looks at how changing the way that hearing technology is marketed can increase hearing aid adoption, change the public's attitudes to hearing technology and better differentiate themselves in an increasingly homogenised market place.

In Part 1 we began by looking at the limitations of the current approach to marketing hearing technology before examining the principles and practice of a more effective approach that focuses on shaping consumer perceptions.

In Part 2 we put these principles into practice with a worked-through example of a consumer-focused advert by an imaginary manufacturer as a way of demonstrating one way in which the new approach might be implemented.

This builds on many of the principles and philosophy of Destination Marketing outlined in "How to get people to want and like hearing aids".

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