creating a new social norm for hearing care
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Hearing is one of the most important connections a human has to the world around them, and particularly to other people. Yet society finds hearing healthcare largely irrelevant because the default assumption people have—that their own hearing is performing as expected—is based on the limitations of human perception.

So how do we raise awareness of the need for hearing checks when people believe they "hear enough"? And how do we get them to think about the importance of a sense which is often taken for granted?

This article, first written for and published by the Academy of Doctors of Audiology in the US, provides a practical and realistic framework for accomplishing this.

The power of self-fulfilling prophecies in hearing healthcareIn this article we examine the power of self-fulfilling prophecies in hearing care. Self-fulfilling prophecies establish vicious circles where the original belief is reinforced by the actions we take as a result of that belief. We'll see how this drives our marketing, which in turn drives the response we get, which then acts to maintain the status quo.

As a result of these vicious circles we often wrongly conclude that things can never change, such as with societal attitudes towards hearing technology. Yet self-fulling prophecies have been responsible for some of the most momentous social changes in recent history, such as achieving racial and sexual equality, and in health behaviour.

Discover how we can harness this powerful force for social change within hearing care.

Hand that's already made it helping another hand up

In We Reap What We Show: Part 1 we saw how the hearing healthcare profession has been basing its marketing assumptions on a series of self-perpetuating myths.

In this article we are going to look at some more "fit-for-purpose" guidelines on the type of imagery we should be using in hearing healthcare marketing and campaigns, together with an introduction to the evidence-based rationale behind them.

We reap what we show: be careful of the images you use in your campaigns and marketingHave you ever wondered what type of images we should be showing in our marketing and hearing healthcare messages?

Whilst it very much depends on the particular context and response we are aiming to evoke, there are some fundamental principles we need to consider here, principles grounded in the way the human mind works.

When people are formulating their perceptions and attitudes towards hearing, they do so by drawing on information that springs most readily to mind. Think how easy it is to recall images, and we quickly see why it's important we get our imagery right.

This series of two articles will explain how.

Best practice hearing care: does it bloat our service or help us blaze a trail?In an age where “differentiation through best practice” competes with “value for money” propositions, what path should we follow in our own practices? Should we be aiming to blaze a trail by “doing more” in an attempt to set ourselves apart from other providers? Or should we be looking to streamline our models to remain competitive on price?

As hearing care develops in the years to come each of us will encounter new research and new ideas on what should or shouldn’t be included in “best practice”.

But there is a temptation with “best practice” to include anything and everything, confusing “doing more” with real world benefits significant enough to justify the cost implications to the person paying for the service – whether a patient or a third party.

Just like the concept of “excellent service” or “continuing professional development”, when is enough enough?

So these guidelines have been formulated to keep the focus on measurable benefit and relevancy to the end user. It will help you decide whether something is truly “blazing a trail or bloating to fail”.

The 4 Questions: a framework for changing the social norm for hearing

There are four questions that society must be able to correctly answer about hearing before they consider it relevant enough to take action and approach a hearing care provider.

Often the answers to these questions come to people unconsciously, derived from their thoughts, feelings and actions, which in turn come from the messages and associations presented to them by hearing care.

This comprehensive guide to the 4 Questions explains in detail which types of messages and associations generate a positive (approach) response to hearing care, as well as revealing why hearing care has been so unsuccessful in the past in reaching more people.

The guide is fully referenced and the theory behind the 4 Questions clearly explained so you can begin to instinctively recognise and apply the principles to your own messages and campaigns.

The 4 Questions Quickstart Guide is an infographic that will get you and your colleagues quickly up and running with the principles developed for changing attitudes in society towards hearing care. One of the main benefits of the 4 Questions is to accelerate the time it takes for people to begin using hearing aids. How? By shifting what it means to use hearingtechnology from a symbol of having a condition to a symbol of life.

Shows at a glance which types of hearing care messages create an AVOID response from society and how to create an APPROACH response.

Sharing the Quickstart Guide

You are very welcome to distribute the Quickstart Guide and print it off for your own personal use or for sharing with your team, but please don't modify it without permission.

If you would like to publish the Quickstart Guide or distribute to a wider audience, please Contact us explaining how you would like to use it.

Woman points at clock in exasperation

If you are a hearing care professional or work within the hearing technology industry you will no doubt have been taught that "People wait X number of years before they get a hearing aid."

Indeed it has become one of the industry’s most influential mantras, a foundational belief on which we build much of our activities, research, public awareness campaigns and training courses.

In case you are unfamiliar with this doctrine, it is based on studies that ask people how long they were aware they had a problem with their hearing before they began wearing hearing aids. The number of years varies from around 3 years to over 10 years, and it’s sometimes used as a measure of whether attitudes towards the wearing of hearing aids are changing. See for example Marketrak.

But the idea that people "wait" is a myth, and a dangerous one at that because the consequences of such a mistaken belief are actually contributing to the very problem we are “measuring”.

Here’s why.

The 4 Questions is now available to download for registered participants of Audira.

The 4 Questions: a framework for changing the social norm for hearingWhether you are a hearing aid manufacturer, hearing care professional, or an organisation or individual with an interest in hearing healthcare you will know that the current social norm results in the majority of people today generally avoiding hearing care.This publication will explain the steps we must take in order to systematically change this norm to one where people’s default inclination is to approach hearing care.

It centres around four questions that society must be able to correctly answer about hearing before they consider it relevant enough to take action. It’s the responsibility of all of us involved with hearing care to use the principles set out within these pages to ensure we are each providing society with the information it needs to answer those four questions correctly.


Society currently takes hearing so much granted that our young people are needlessly throwing away their hearing, adults are left to fade away because the importance of their hearing is ignored, and the Deaf get excluded because society fails to make itself "connectable".

Are we stuck with this outdated social norm? Or can we change it?

Thought-provoking presentation with the potential to forever transform the way society regards hearing. Includes insights into the underlying drivers and practical recommendations.

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