Practice Differentiation: Seven Areas of Best Practice

The most important asset you have as a business owner/administrator is the people that work for you and the brand that you create to support your patients. The question we’re asked most often as practice consultants is “How can we set our practice apart from our competition and protect ourselves from industry disruptors?”

Below are the seven key areas we recommend practice leaders focus on to differentiate themselves and ultimately, grow their businesses:

1. Industry

Get involved with our industry at a broader level, either with national organizations, local boards, or philanthropic events in your community. As we all know, a lot is happening regarding policies and regulations on Medicare coverage and over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid options. Lobbying can help amplify our voices as industry experts. Stay up to date with the latest research and clinical trials or join an advisory council (like the Consult Audiology Advisory Council) to provide guidance on industry trends and best practices. Getting involved on a higher level shows that your commitment to the field goes beyond selling hearing aids. 

2. Community

It’s important to create a brand that represents who you are and what you believe in. Does your practice’s presence in the community reflect your mission and values? Do you even really have a presence in your community? Whether in-person or virtual, community events such as health fairs, lunch and learns, and free hearing screening events should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Make sure your events are exciting to the target audience and that they end with a clear call to action! Finally, educate physicians and community groups (urgent care centers, walk-in clinics, senior living facilities, etc.) about the comorbidities associated with hearing loss and the importance of hearing on one’s overall wellness.

3. Team Culture

Foster a workplace culture that’s patient-centric and built on trust. Do you have the right people on your team? Do they work efficiently together as a team? Have you communicated your mission to them? Can they articulate that mission to patients? Champion open communication and welcome feedback and input from your staff. Regular staff meetings are crucial opportunities for team building, goal-setting, and instilling a growth mindset in your employees. Hold a daily “huddle” with your staff to set and maintain clear expectations each day. Also, be sure to provide professional growth opportunities with ongoing job description and performance reviews.

4. Patients

Put yourself in your patients’ shoes and trace the steps of their typical journey. Be aware of your digital presence and look at your website from a visitor’s perspective. Is it easy for them to find your contact information or to book an appointment? Does it include positive patient reviews and testimonials that convey your passion and expertise? Stay top of mind with patients by engaging with them on social media and sending regular communications such as birthday messages, newsletters, and appointment reminders. Consider utilizing innovative tools to stay in touch with patients like Consult’s exclusive new video marketing platform. Hosting educational seminars about common challenges like hearing aid Bluetooth connectivity is another great way to empower your patients and improve hearing aid outcomes. Patients want to be informed and to feel like their healthcare providers genuinely care about them!

5. In-Office

Try walking into your office as if you’ve never been there before. Examine the layout of your reception and waiting area as well as your exam room(s). What message does each space send to visitors? Are they all clean and without clutter? Is the physical space built in a way that allows room for growth? Don’t forget that your front office person is often a patient’s first impression of the practice. Does he/she positively represent your brand and support your mission? Examine the flow from arrival to the appointment to check out as well. Consider displaying assistive technology such as captioned telephones or playing educational waiting room videos that show statistics about hearing loss and/or share a patient’s journey.

6. In Appointments

You should also try walking through the flow of each appointment type, considering every element of the process. Do patients know what the expectations are in advance? Are your providers educating patients and giving their professional recommendations efficiently and concisely without pre-judgment? Engage in dialogue with your providers and hold them accountable for consistency in this process. Discuss outcome notes and work as a team to include new or different measures or specialized testing if appropriate. And continue to re-visit this process for ongoing practice growth. The goal here is to continue to improve how you deliver diagnosis and treatment messages to establish greater trust with patients so that more of them accept your help.

7. Follow-up Care

Follow-up and follow-through can be challenging in any field, but there are simple ways to add this to your processes to present yourself as an industry leader. Do you have a hearing loss prevention program or a referral plan? Do you have walk-in hours so that patients have the convenience of returning whenever they’re having a problem? Set up your email automation software to distribute patient satisfaction surveys following appointments. Send patients home with educational brochures that will help foster an ongoing relationship. Take time to make follow-up phone calls, regardless of whether the patient was ready to move forward and purchase hearing aids or not. All patients, even those who do not have an aidable hearing loss, should receive ongoing education and communication from your practice. This upholds your commitment to providing quality hearing healthcare and helping as many people as possible. Establishing realistic expectations regarding follow-up is also key. Let patients know that the average person upgrades their hearing aids every 3.7 years and that they should expect to return at the three-year mark for you to re-evaluate their hearing loss and ensure their devices are still functioning properly.

These areas are a great place to start thinking about how you can differentiate your practice. Don’t try to revamp your processes all at once. Instead, tackle a few of the above suggestions at a time. And remember that our Account Managers can help—this is exactly what we do every day for practices all across the country.

Reach out today to get started!

About the Author

Dr. Heather Carter, AuD., FAAA, is an Account Manager for the Northeast Region and brings a unique perspective to Consult YHN as a clinical audiologist with over 20 years of experience. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in Audiology from Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts college for the Deaf in the U.S. Through her graduate studies and clinical work, Dr. Carter has gained the expertise to help patients with all levels of hearing loss improve their communication skills. By providing practice development support and bridging the clinical aspects of hearing healthcare with the necessary business skills as a Consult YHN Account Manager, she helps her clients remain viable and relevant. Dr. Carter has two CODA children who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and recently enjoyed a trip to her alma mater where they all were able to use their fluency in ASL to communicate on campus!

About the Author

Dr. Hannah Millstine joined Consult YHN in 2021 and is an Account Manager serving the East region. She received her doctoral degree in Audiology from Northeastern University and spent two years working as a clinical audiologist prior to joining Consult. Hannah resides in Maine and enjoys hiking and exploring New England in her free time.

Real Mistakes Audiologists Have Made & How to Avoid Them

We talk a lot about patient satisfaction and how to ensure that the next patient who walks through your door leaves happy. But what if they don’t? Have you really helped them?

We spoke to two different patients about their first audiology experiences and uncovered several mistakes that should not be done by an audiologist or practice. Note: names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Patient #1: Rocco

Rocco is in his mid-eighties and very healthy. He likes to take long walks, watches what he eats, even plays basketball with the men’s club from church twice a week. Rocco’s wife visits an ENT at least twice a year for cerumen removal and thought that because she can’t hear until her ears are cleaned out, that that must be Rocco’s problem as well. The otolaryngologist ran a few tests, didn’t find excess wax in Rocco’s ears, but decided to send him down the hall to the audiologist for a hearing test.

After a quick “hello,” the audiologist sent him into the booth. Afterward, the audiologist showed Rocco his audiogram and informed him he had “a significant problem” with his hearing. She then told him to “come back in six months for another test and we’ll see where we go from there.” Rocco learned nothing about his hearing loss or hearing aids. The audiologist simply handed him a copy of his audiogram and walked him out. Over a year later, Rocco still hasn’t gone back to the audiologist for another test. His family continues to struggle to communicate with him and vice versa.

What to do instead:

  • Tell patients about yourself.
    You can’t expect patients to trust you if they don’t know who you are. A 30-second video introducing yourself, outlining your credentials, and explaining why you became an audiologist can go a long way in reassuring patients they’ve chosen the right person to trust with their hearing health. Be sure to have this information on your website as well. Share your WHY with patients—they want to hear from you! Prepare a quick statement as to why you do what you do and why they are in the right place.
  • Educate them.
    Seize every opportunity to share your knowledge about hearing health and its importance on one’s overall wellness. The more you educate those who don’t know what you do, the more your business (and our industry) will benefit. Patients should know what to expect before they step foot in your office and definitely before you put them in the booth. Explaining the testing process and the audiogram in advance creates greater transparency not to mention easing the fears patients might have.
  • Focus on the patient.
    No matter how busy your schedule might be, it’s crucial that you give each patient the time and attention they deserve. Making patient counseling a priority can result in greater patient satisfaction and better clinical outcomes. Encourage patients to share their stories by asking opened-ended questions during the intake interview. Knowing how hearing loss affects their lives and relationships will give you a better feel for their readiness and motivation for treatment. You can’t provide patient-centric care if you don’t understand each patient’s unique journey.
  • Don’t pre-judge.
    Give every patient who is a candidate for hearing aids the opportunity to listen to or “demo” the technology. By educating patients and giving them a chance to listen to what’s new, you are empowering them to make the best decision for their hearing health. Don’t assume that a patient’s hearing loss “doesn’t seem bad enough” or that he/she “isn’t ready.” Instead, educate the patient so they can make the most informed decision.

Patient #2: Grace

Grace is a 94-year-old grandmother who’s been wearing hearing aids for more than two decades. She needed to upgrade her devices and called the practice she’d been going to for many years, but the phone was disconnected, and her granddaughter couldn’t find any information about them online anymore. Begrudgingly, Grace found a new practice and purchased new hearing aids, but the hearing aids are still not right and she’s not happy.

What to do instead:

  • Keep in touch!
    Your relationship with a patient should never end after they leave your office, regardless of the outcome of their appointment. Following up with patients after their appointment will reduce the chances of them going elsewhere when it comes time to upgrade. In addition to scheduling a follow-up appointment two weeks after the fitting, we recommend our practices call the patient one to two days after the fitting to check-in and ask a positive question like “What’s the best thing you’ve heard with your new hearing aids?” to get immediate feedback, start a positive dialogue, and address any immediate issues/concerns. Also, this should go without saying, but if you move, someone buys your clinic, or you retire, you should notify your patients.
  • Continue to educate.
    Even if a patient’s hearing aids are functioning properly, he/she may not be hearing at their best potential. Continue to invite your patients in for annual evaluations and consistently notify them of updates in hearing aid technology. Who knows—they may be ready for an upgrade before you realize! Another great way to use Vidscrip is to create a series of tutorial videos that educate patients on how to care for and get the most out of their new devices. Remember: a satisfied patient is a loyal one.

    The Consult Development Programs offer ongoing professional growth opportunities for providers, including procedural best practices and increasing help rates.

    Talk to your Account Manager to learn more!

    About the Author

    Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

    What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision About Medicare Advantage

    At Consult, we believe that information is power and for you to continue to make informed decisions around managed care, we asked, Edward Braun, Senior Vice President, Managed Care, and Corporate Partnerships at Demant, for insight on Medicare Advantage and its continued growth.

    Medicare Advantage, often referred to as Medicare Part C or MA, provides Medicare benefits through a private-sector health insurer like United Healthcare, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and others. In a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare member pays a monthly premium to a private insurance company (or in some cases no out-of-pocket cost) and receives healthcare coverage for inpatient hospital (Medicare Part A) and outpatient (Medicare Part B) services. Usually, the Medicare Advantage plan also includes prescription drug ( Medicare-Part D) coverage. Many MA plans also offer additional benefits, such as dental coverage, vision, gym memberships, hearing aids, and services.

    Under original Medicare, a Medicare member pays a monthly premium to the US federal government and receives coverage for Part A and Part B services, however, generally a member purchases supplemental coverage separately for services and products not covered by original Medicare.

    Enrollment in Medicare Advantage continues to grow. Participation expanded from 5.3MM members in 2003 and 2004 to 24.1MM members in the 2020 benefit year (see figure 1 below from Kaiser Family Foundation). Estimates are that MA enrollment will increase to between 26MM and 27MM in 2021, and to over 50MM members by 2030. Many of these members will experience hearing healthcare for the first time through one of these plans.

    As illustrated in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare Advantage Enrollment pie chart below, for 2020 all major health care companies present Medicare Advantage plans. United HealthCare is currently the largest managed care organization [MCO] offering Medicare coverage to members with over 6MM MA members, followed by Humana, then the Blue Cross Blue Shield organization. At this growth rate, two-thirds of all Medicare-eligible members are choosing Medicare Advantage over the original Government Medicare each new benefit year.

    Medicare Advantage plans must offer at least the same level of coverage as the government’s Medicare Part A and Part B allowance while many plans offer added benefits. Typically, MA plans offer what is known as the “big three” – Vision, Dental, and Hearing benefits. Plans may also include coverage for prescription drug coverage, fitness center membership, transportation, over-the-counter medicines, meals, and other health-related benefits.

    As the Medicare Advantage growth trend relates to hearing, these Medicare healthcare plans are becoming a new source of patients for hearing health care providers. In the past, patients found their way to hearing care clinics through patient referrals, direct response marketing like newspapers and direct mail, as well as location, location, location. With Medicare Advantage Managed Care Organizations providing benefit coverage for hearing aids and hearing evaluations, patients are now finding their way to hearing clinics through their MA membership, however only if a provider is a credentialled provider for the Medicare Advantage plan.

    As a hearing care provider, you must make your own decisions on participating in Medicare Advantage provider networks. Like most business decisions, there are pros and cons to participating in MA plans, yet it is increasingly clear that enrollment growth in these plans continues to expand. Plans are offering hearing care benefits that are appealing to members, along with vision and dental (and other) benefits, and astute members are actively using these benefits.

    Consult is committed to ensuring that our Associates are competitive in a constantly changing market landscape. That’s why we created a program that allows Associates to provide alternatives for patients pursuing a lower cost option through internet sales and big box stores, and for patients who have a managed care discount (uncovered during verification, but not referred).

    The Consult Competitive Advantage is designed to give your patients the service and product options that compete with these groups while preserving your commitment to providing high-quality technology and care. Many providers see this opportunity to provide a better level of technology which leads to increased patient satisfaction and higher acceptance rates.

    Learn More About the Consult Competitive Advantage!

    About the Author

    Edward “Ed” Braun has more than 30 years of experience in management, sales, managed care, and business development, primarily in the hearing healthcare and the medical device industry. Ed is currently the VP of Managed Care for Oticon where he leads the company’s managed care strategy. Previously, he was Vice President/General Manager for Audigence Inc., a cochlear implant technology start-up and Managing Director, GN Hearing Care Canada, managing GN ReSound, Interton, and Beltone business units. Before that, Ed held the position of Senior Vice President/General Manager for Telex Hearing Instrument Group. Earlier, he served as Senior Vice President, Sales at Beltone as well as Managing Director, Beltone Managed Care Inc. Ed holds a B.S. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin and has completed extensive strategic and leadership training at both Northwestern Kellogg School of Management and the University of Wisconsin School of Business.

    Patient Trust: Why It’s Important and Five Ways to Build It

    According to the FBI, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial scam or confidence scheme every year. If that’s not enough cause for concern, they’re being inundated by industry disrupters—managed care, discount plans, big boxes, and OTC (Bose and Apple)—after spending more than a year in isolation, fearing for their health as a result of the pandemic.

    That’s why it’s never been more important for practices to establish credibility and build trust with patients.

    Without the reputation, name recognition, and marketing budget of a major tech company like Bose or Apple, this is a practice’s best defense against growing competition, patient skepticism, and the lingering stigma against hearing aids. Because while we all know how incredible today’s hearing aids are and the profound difference they can make in the lives of those who need them, convincing patients of this is perhaps your greatest challenge.

    So, what can you do to cut through all the noise and earn your patients’ confidence and effectively deliver life-changing hearing healthcare?

    #1. Make a good first impression.

    Because most patients are finding your practice online, that’s where you really need to shine. To establish yourself as the local hearing health expert, engage existing patients, and entice prospects, it’s vital that you have…

    A) A well-designed, user-friendly website that not only highlights your expertise and credentials but also serves as a resource for people seeking hearing health information. Not sure if your site is up to par? Let our in-house marketing experts conduct a website assessment!

    B) An excellent online reputation. Add Vidscrips and video testimonials to your website and Healthy Hearing Premier Profile flex space and make sure you have plenty of positive reviews on Google and Facebook.

    #2. Be consistent.

    Your brand image and messaging need to be consistent from your website to your doorstep, and with every interaction a patient has with one of your staff members. If you have multiple locations, each office should follow the same scripting and best practices in addition to providing the same quality of care. The only way to achieve this kind of uniformity is through regular, ongoing staff meetings and professional development. The Consult Development Programs are designed to ensure everyone in the practice is working together as a team to maintain a positive brand image, provide superior customer service, and support practice growth. Also, make sure that your hours, services, and other practice information is consistent across all of your marketing assets and channels. Even a seemingly minor inconsistency can make a potential patient think twice about choosing your practice.

    #3. Be transparent.

    Ideally, patients should already know who you are and what to expect before they ever step foot in your office. Does your Front Office Professional know how to handle price shoppers and address questions about OTC hearing aids? Do your providers know how to prevent and overcome common objections? Again, this is where regular staff training and meetings can have a major impact. With the right scripting and the right mindset, even the most skeptical customers can become satisfied patients. If you don’t already have a value statement, I encourage you to develop one and share it with your employees along with your business goals. Every member of the practice should be able to articulate why you and why your practice.

    #4. Make strong clinical recommendations.

    When making the recommendation for hearing devices, do you resort to showing patients the full smorgasbord of hearing aids you offer, or do you lead the conversation to a strong clinical recommendation? Patients are coming to you because you are the expert. So, make a clear recommendation and tie it back to their hearing test as well as what you’ve learned during the appointment about their lifestyle, hobbies, career, and budget. That way, patients know you’re not just trying to sell them the premium product but rather there’s a legitimate clinical reason behind your recommendation. It also shows you’ve been listening to them and are committed to finding a solution that meets their individual needs.

    #5. Educate patients.

    Education and exceptional patient care go hand-in-hand. Both inside and outside the practice, you should seize every opportunity to educate patients about the importance of good hearing health. In addition to attending/hosting community health events and creating educational content (blogs, articles, and videos) to promote across your digital channels, you should always have a collection of up-to-date educational materials in your office. You never know—sending a reluctant patient home with a brochure to review with their loved ones could just provide the push they need to move forward in their hearing journey. It’s also important for providers to explain the blank audiogram before putting patients in the booth. This helps patients and their companions understand what to look for, thus creating greater transparency throughout the testing process.

    Industry disruptors and COVID-19 aren’t going away any time soon. But if you and your entire team can openly, honestly, and effectively communicate with patients, then you will lessen their skepticism and increase their trust, leading to greater satisfaction and retention.

    Consult can help.
    Learn more about our Development Programs!

    About the Author

    Leah Breuers is the Director of Vendor Relations and Key Account Manager. She has extensive experience in the medical field selling and managing multi-million dollar businesses with a strong focus on customer service, training, increasing profitability. Before joining Consult in 2009, Leah worked both inside and outside the medical industry for emerging and Fortune 500 companies. In her time with the organization, Leah has worked with some of the largest, most engaged accounts and has routinely grown her portfolio by double digits year over year.

    Tips for Optimizing Your Teleaudiology Techniques & Environment

    Over the last year, businesses have faced the daunting task of trying to keep their doors open while remaining profitable during the pandemic. This has forced many to change their practices to accommodate customers safely in the new environment. A significant change in the hearing healthcare industry has of course been the utilization of remote and virtual appointments.

    These types of appointments are more common than ever. In fact, the number of telehealth visits in the U.S. increased by 50 percent during the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. In the Hearing Review’s second Covid-19 Impact Survey last April, 51 percent of hearing care providers said they have used telehealth for follow-ups and counseling while 45 percent said they have used it for hearing aid adjustments and fine-tuning.

    To clarify, audiology practices have three ways of providing this service to patients:

    1. Virtual appointments via phone or video (Facetime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
    2. Remote programming and/or troubleshooting via a smartphone app
    3. Full-service teleaudiology (such as Your Tele Care)

     These are all great options but may not be suitable for every situation, every type of patient or appointment, or every practice. What’s important is that you figure out how to make these offerings a reality for your patients where appropriate.

    Whether your practice has already implemented teleaudiology or is still considering it, here are some key points to consider as well as tips for enhancing patient care, virtually:

    Wi-Fi:

    If many of your patients live in remote areas with poor Wi-Fi or your practice itself has poor Wi-Fi, you could experience audio and video issues that are not ideal for video-based appointments. Having high-speed internet is critical and should be the first thing you consider before implementing any type of teleaudiology services.

    Comfortability with technology:

    Even if a patient isn’t tech-savvy, a virtual appointment could work if they have someone at home who can assist them such as a child, grandchild, or caregiver. Plan ahead and ask patients to have someone with them during their appointment (just like you’d ask them to bring a third party to an in-person appointment). On the other hand, don’t underestimate your patients—the pandemic has forced many to learn and embrace technology in ways they never have before, especially video chat.

    Camera placement:

    While you cannot control the patient’s camera placement, you can and should make sure the patient is able to clearly see you and anything you may need to demonstrate. Position your camera in a way that provides an up-close view of your head and shoulders and minimizes reflection (e.g., facing a wall instead of a window or mirror). Also, make sure any equipment you may need is within easy reach (tip: hands-free telephone access can maximize both audio and video-based communication).

    Proper lighting

    Conducting video-based appointments in a well-lit space will help to ensure patients aren’t straining to see you. According to American Telemedicine Association’s publication, Let there be Light: A Quick Guide to Telemedicine Lighting, which is a go-to resource for virtual care lighting and techniques, appropriate lighting is linked to greater patient satisfaction, which contributes to clinical engagement and reimbursement.

    Environment and etiquette:

    The ideal environment for any type of virtual appointment is a quiet, private space free of distractions, disruptions, and competing sounds (somewhere you won’t run the risk of people walking past your screen or a conversation or ringing telephone being picked up by your microphone). Remember: experience is still important. Remove any clutter from your desk and choose your backdrop wisely (a wall covered in photos, flyers, and/or artwork might seem nice but could also compete for a patient’s attention). When conducting audio-based appointments, know that pauses will simply be heard as silence, so let patients know when you are stopping to think or take notes. Lastly, if you’re going to be on video, be sure to look presentable and try to avoid clothing with loud colors and prints.

    Test and confirm:

    Before any type of virtual appointment, it’s crucial that you do a trial run (actually, multiple trial runs) to make sure you are comfortable and that your equipment is working properly. Enlist the help of your coworkers—do a few mock appointments and ask for their feedback. In addition, you should check your equipment regularly and confirm at the beginning of every appointment that the patient can see and hear you clearly.

    With the demand for hearing healthcare on the rise, there’s never been a better time to think about ways your practice can grow and evolve to meet the needs of more patients, more efficiently.

    If you’re still on the fence about adopting a multifaceted teleaudiology solution, let’s talk briefly about the benefits. Aside from reducing travel time and related stress for patients—many of whom have mobility issues—teleaudiology allows practices to expand their reach beyond the confines of their physical location to help more people (most importantly, those who may not have access to quality hearing healthcare otherwise). Teleaudiology has also been shown to reduce the cost of hearing care and increase efficiency through better management of patients, shared clinic staff, reduced travel times/expenses, and fewer cases of patient dissatisfaction.

    So, do your research. Listen to what colleagues who have gone virtual have to say. And doggonit, talk to your Account Manager! 

    About the Author

    Diana Dobo joined Consult YHN in 2011 as an Account Manager before being named Divisional Vice President, West in 2014. Since May 2018, she has served as Vice President, Strategic Accounts. Prior to joining Consult, Diana was a Senior Sales Manager in healthcare IT with Acusis and served as an adjunct faculty member for several colleges facilitating business courses. She has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business development and is passionate about helping her team and her customers achieve outstanding results.

    Six Easy Tips for Conducting an Effective Hearing Aid Evaluation

    The most challenging aspect of addressing hearing loss is counseling the patient through the acceptance process of amplification. Even in countries where price is not a barrier, acceptance rates are still poor. Denial, cosmetics, stigma, and financial concerns remain the biggest barriers keeping more individuals from seeking treatment for their hearing loss sooner, before it takes a toll on their relationships as well as their physical and mental health.
    Research shows that having a process for how you approach this important step can improve the likelihood your patient will accept the recommended help in the form of hearing aids. As hearing health professionals, we follow a process for conducting otoscopy, impedance, and the audiogram. Providers also need a process to guide their patients to accept the treatment of amplification. Here are six easy tips to try during your next hearing aid evaluation that will help you do just that:

    1. Allow the patient to verbalize his/her difficulties by asking the right questions in the best order.

    This creates ownership and identifies future objections to accepting help. Asking a specific question like “Tell me what you have noticed about your hearing” allows for the patient to verbalize their perspective. Alternatively, asking a vague question like “What brought you in today?” can often lead you down a less productive rabbit hole.

    2. Use your “why” and the power of storytelling to establish trust, credibility, and a connection.

    Conveying who you are and why you do what you do is a proven way of building rapport and establishing credibility. Trust and credibility are key in compelling reluctant patients to take the next step.

    3. Involve the companion.

    This should be a decision-maker with whom they communicate regularly. We are evaluating communication (“Who is it you communicate with the most?”) Typically, any medical or financial decision is discussed with family members, spouses, or close friends before moving forward. We know hearing loss also affects not only the patient but everyone around them.

    4. Set the stage by explaining the diagnostic process to build credibility and expectations of results.

    The power of visuals is even stronger than you may think. Simply show the blank audiogram and normal range of hearing in advance of the testing. By doing this, you are establishing expectations and reducing test anxiety that the patient might be feeling.

    5. Demonstrate the technology.

    When you allow patients to try the amplification, within noise, it empowers them to understand the impact of their hearing. Everyone should be given the chance to experience how amplification can make a difference.

    6. Transfer your enthusiasm with a strong recommendation.

    Excitement is contagious- patients are looking to you as the expert to tell them what they should do. Remember options can prolong action. They are coming to you because you are the professional who knows the best treatment for THEM.
    I know what you might be thinking: “Six steps? Easier said than done!” The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Part of Consult YHN’s staff training and employee development program is helping providers deliver more effective hearing aid evaluations. Learning more about the many details within each of these steps will ensure that you or your provider(s) are helping more patients every day. So, if I could add a seventh step it would be: 7. Act now, ask for help! That’s why we’re here!  

    Click here to learn more about the Consult Employee Development Program (EDP) or talk to your Account Manager today!

    About the Author

    Dr. Kari Londo joined Consult YHN in 2019 with more than 12 years of experience as a clinical Audiologist. She received her doctoral degree in Audiology from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Kari has a deep understanding of the hearing industry, having previously worked directly with patients in private practice and ENT, as an Account Manager for a hearing aid manufacture, and now on the business side as a Consult YHN Account Manager. She is passionate about improving the lives of individuals with hearing loss and helping hearing practices grow by helping these individuals. When she’s not working, Kari can be found playing volleyball, socializing with friends, or enjoying the outdoors.

    About the Author

    Dr. Heather Carter, AuD., FAAA, is an Account Manager for the Northeast Region and brings a unique perspective to Consult YHN as a clinical audiologist with over 20 years of experience. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in Audiology from Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts college for the Deaf in the U.S. Through her graduate studies and clinical work, Dr. Carter has gained the expertise to help patients with all levels of hearing loss improve their communication skills. By providing practice development support and bridging the clinical aspects of hearing healthcare with the necessary business skills as a Consult YHN Account Manager, she helps her clients remain viable and relevant. Dr. Carter has two CODA children who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and recently enjoyed a trip to her alma mater where they all were able to use their fluency in ASL to communicate on campus!