Unitron s North sound processing: when conversations matter

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1 unitron.com Unitron s North sound processing: when conversations matter Changing dynamics of the healthcare practitioner-patient relationship Using trust to advocate in a world of skeptics Magazine Issue 7

2 Opening remarks Perspective A great patient experience happens on all levels Jan Metzdorff President This issue celebrates the recent launch of North, our ground-breaking new platform. So much about North is new and exciting: its ability to distinguish between different kinds of conversation and to give patients the most natural listening experience ever. We invited hearing healthcare professionals to Go North at this year s AudiologyNow! and were gratified that the trial North hearing instruments we fit participants with left them as excited as we are about our new platform. (You can read more about North on pages 1, 9 and 16.) New, yes. Exciting, definitely. And yet, there s nothing new at all about the philosophy behind North. Every bit of this new capability springs from a product philosophy that is deeply entrenched at Unitron: one that puts patient experience first and foremost by meeting real needs and removing barriers. We are committed to this patient-centric philosophy because it serves everyone well: clearly it serves your patients best interests, builds trust and supports your in-clinic success. Creating an exceptional patient experience occurs on many levels, including how our products look and feel in the hand and on the ear. Our new Moxi Fit was recently found to represent the very best of form and function by an esteemed international design jury. That s a great honor, but more importantly validates our belief that the patient experience must inform everything we do. You can read more about our latest Red Dot 2015 design award on page 8. Our new data logging technology, Log It All, provides the ultimate insight into patient experience. Log It All (which is featured in several articles in this issue) creates opportunity by capturing real-life patient data that supports evidence-based conversations about lifestyle and technology level. There s all this and much more to experience in this issue. I hope you enjoy it from start to finish. When conversations matter Unitron s North sound processing platform makes the difference It all begins with understanding patient needs Hearing healthcare patients, like all consumers, have wants and needs related to their hearing loss. Understanding those needs is critical in developing hearing instruments. This insight helps to inform and shape product design; the features that contribute to sound quality; and the advanced technologies that improve a hearing instrument s performance in key areas such as speech intelligibility. For a patient, their hearing instruments represent an important reconnection to the sounds that fill their life, says Unitron Vice President of R&D Ara Talaslian. When that hearing instrument works well, it makes the patient s life easier. That in turn makes the hearing healthcare professional (HHCP) successful in his/her practice, by allowing that clinician to make a greater difference and help more people. Talaslian explains that like a pyramid, patient needs as they relate to a hearing instrument can be expressed as a build up of layers. At the most fundamental level, a patient s psychological, wearing and acoustical comfort must be addressed. In short, if a product is uncomfortable in any way, it will be rejected. If the hearing instrument is comfortable, the patient s needs transition up a level in the hierarchy, to center on sound quality. Listening to the world with their hearing instruments, they will want voices to be understandable and other sounds natural. Finally, if a patient s Contents Perspective Behind the scenes Unitron spotlights The last word 1 When conversations matter 4 Changing dynamics of the healthcare practitionerpatient relationship 6 Using trust to create advocates in a world of skeptics 8 It s easy to recognize an excellent Fit 9 From speech in noise to conversations 12 Real life. Real data. Real opportunity. 14 Unitron s unprecedented listening experience has a contagious effect at AudiologyNow! 16 North hits the road 17 Marketing to the Grey Ocean 18 Digitally-enhanced marketing Clooney style 20 Favorite Sound campaign becomes a global conversation

3 Perspective Hierarchy of patient needs Performance Sound quality Comfort needs for comfort and sound quality have been satisfied, a patient will focus on speech intelligibility. They will expect to participate in conversations, and clearly understand speech in both quiet and in challenging, noisy environments. This pyramid, or hierarchy of needs, shapes Unitron s philosophy, which is grounded in understanding patient needs. An approach many years in the making, Unitron s philosophy serves as a guiding principle, driving and aligning the company s innovation strategy. A philosophy shapes a platform Every time Unitron builds a new platform, the company turns back to its philosophy to move one step closer to satisfying the full spectrum of patient needs. This philosophy was instrumental in shaping Unitron s latest sound processing platform, North. Based on the strong foundation of Unitron s proven sound quality, North pushes the boundaries of what is possible in natural sound. It offers a greater dynamic range, clean handling of signals and tightly integrated algorithms that shape sound quality in a way that is unique to Unitron, and that bring patients closer than ever to natural hearing. There are several advancements enabled by the new North platform that stand out as leading examples of innovation in addressing both patients and hearing professionals needs. These are North s new SoundNav automatic program; Moxi Fit, the newest generation of Unitron s popular receiverin-canal Moxi hearing instruments; Flex, Unitron s risk-free hearing instrument trial and upgrade solution, and a new evidence based counseling feature called Log It All. Seven different sound environments, four focused on conversations The understanding of patient needs and the variability of conversations served as the inspiration for North s precise sound classification technology. s don t just occur in quiet or in noise. Background noise can vary greatly depending on whether you are in small groups, at large events, in the car or on the street, explains Dr. Don Hayes, Unitron s Director of Clinical Research. North was purposefully designed with the recognition that every conversation comes with its own set of background noises. The platform s new SoundNav automatic program offers precise classification of seven different sound environments, four of which are specifically focused on conversations, so patients can participate in all kinds of conversations without struggling to hear. SoundNav identifies if there is no conversation and whether it is a noisy or quiet environment. So whether a person is talking quietly one on one, chatting in a group, or contending with background noise such as street traffic, SoundNav can intelligently identify the type of conversation and manage the appropriate features within the hearing instrument to make speech clearer. North s technologies work in harmony so patients automatically experience the best speech understanding along with natural sound quality in the widest variety of listening situations. The perfect combination of style and functionality powered by North North s technologies all come together to power Moxi Fit, the latest generation of Unitron s popular receiver-in-canal (RIC) Moxi hearing instruments. Moxi Fit continues the tradition of Moxi design that removes patient barriers to acceptance, with a fluid new look, giving patients the perfect combination of style and functionality with a 312 battery, push button and telecoil. A proven solution for building patient trust, confidence and in-clinic success One of the best ways to strengthen a practice and build lasting relationships is to delight a patient from the very first interaction. Powered by North, Unitron s Flex solution is unique in the hearing healthcare marketplace, offering a risk-free hearing instrument trial and upgrade solution that provides HHCPs with a proven way to build trust and increase patient confidence. Indeed, more than 80% of Flex customers believe it improves the patient experience and increases the number of patients purchasing hearing instruments. Log it All, a new counseling feature powered by North and offered within Unitron s TrueFit software, offers an industryfirst approach to data logging. Log It All complements and enhances the Flex solution by capturing real-life patient data across seven different listening environments. This information improves and informs patient discussions, allowing HHCPs to make evidence-based recommendations about optimal technology levels to meet their listening needs. in quiet s Quiet Music in a small group in a crowd Better conversations about a patient s listening behaviors can increase trust and lead to more informed decisions about hearing health two key factors in building long-term patient-healthcare provider relationships and in-clinic success, says Bruce Brown, Vice President Global Marketing for Unitron. North s sound processing platform, Moxi Fit, Flex solutions and Log It All, combined together, provide healthcare professionals with the flexibility to explore technology options as well as extensive information about a patient s listening behaviors. This insight provides new and exciting jumping off points for those conversations. in noise Noise Unitron s new SoundNav automatic program offers precise classification of seven different sound environments, four of which are specifically focused on conversation 2 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 3

4 Perspective Changing dynamics of the healthcare practitioner-patient relationship They are becoming the norm. They come to your clinic with articles in-hand and printed pages from the Internet. They have ideas regarding their medical condition and how it can be treated. They aren t afraid to self-diagnose and they want your input on their assessment. Perhaps they even have an idea which medical product or treatment they d like to try. All before even talking to you. In this age of information, your patients, their family members and their caregivers come to your clinic informed. They also believe what they are reading online is accurate. What does this mean for you and your practice? And how is this changing how you interact with your patients? Evolving roles Before the information era, doctors were the gatekeepers of medical knowledge. They were highly respected, and an authoritative source of diagnoses and treatment. Sometimes one doctor took care of an entire community. Patients had no access to their medical records and they didn t dream of requesting copies. When healthcare professionals hold significantly more information about medical conditions than their patients, they have more power, and patients remain in a zone of dependence (Accenture, 2011). This asymmetrical information put[s] the burden of promoting trust on the professional (Taylor, 2015). Shifting the locus of power Home computers, the Internet and social media have all been catalysts in shifting the locus of power in healthcare. Whether as a result of consumerism or a growing number of healthy agers over 65, many clients will be e-patients who want to be more involved in managing their health (Hyatt, 2014). E-patients use technology to make informed decisions. They demand convenience and ease of access to their appointment schedules, tests and results. They also want to participate in therapeutic decisions, and the management of their medical conditions or that of loved ones. Their access to the Internet means that they approach you with preconceived notions. Looking for health or medical information is one of the most popular activities online today, after (93%) and researching a product or service before buying it (83%). Many people use the Internet to search for a specific medical condition (63%), medical treatment or procedure (47%), (Akerkar and Bichile, 2004) or apps to monitor their health. They also desire data to validate their health choices. They may have researched your practice on Rate MD, where doctor-patient relationships become public discussions and add to pre-conceived notions about you and your care. E-patients are those that use technology to make informed decisions; therefore they also feel a sense of empowerment, whether or not the information is accurate and factually correct. On the positive side, more e-patients in your practice mean more engaged patients who are actively participating in their healthcare and relationship with you. Greater engagement with you means that the relationships you develop, your counseling approach, and customer service become differentiation factors in your clinic s success. Support tools that augment discussions of their symptoms and the impacts of hearing loss can create a comfortable, trusting clinical setting. Visual aids, patient surveys and discussions can shift the consultation from passive to active and encour- age shared decision-making, empathy, a focus on services rather than sales, and from educating patients to one that motivates and inspires patients to make positive change (Taylor, 2015). A pre-consultation questionnaire that asks patients which health websites or magazines they have accessed, and if they have any questions about what they may have read or heard, allows you to prepare appropriately and ensures you do not disregard the information (Accenture, 2011). More informed patients may also mean reduced clinical consultation time for simple conditions, giving you more time to understand your patients preferences and model them as part of your counseling process. Informed or misguided? Although your patients may be more informed, they require your expertise to provide sound, accurate medical advice. Healthcare providers are now finding themselves in a consulting role, helping patients wade through inaccurate, unregulated health information on the Internet. Over three-fourths of people seeking health information online do not check the validity of what they are reading (Worrall and Oh, 2013). This can have adverse health impacts, and presents an opportunity for you to educate patients about what they are reading online. Making it personal Each interaction with a patient is an opportunity to enhance or diminish trust. If you improve trust during the in-clinic experience, you are likely to create more advocates for your practice. Trust is built when patients values guide clinical decisions. Patientcenteredness is about caring for the person, rather than a set of symptoms to be managed (Mendoza,2011). Mobile technology, apps and the Internet will continue to evolve and impact the patient-healthcare provider relationship. Informed, and sometimes misinformed patients, can present challenges; however, they also present new opportunities to hone your communication skills and to connect with them at a deeper level. For most patients, they want to be heard and to feel understood. They want their healthcare providers to show that they care and have their best interests at heart. By encouraging trust, shared decision-making, patient input and empathic communication, the fitting experience is destined to be more rewarding for both you and your patients. 4 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 5

5 Perspective Using trust to create advocates in a world of skeptics Here are a few of the compelling observations about trust and patient success made by respected researchers for complete sources and citations, see full article: unitron.com/building trust In a patient caregiver relationship, the burden of promoting trust is on the provider who must demonstrate that they will put the patient s interests first. Two sides to today s patients The patient Has a medical need May be reluctant to seek help Increasing social barriers may push them to action The customer Expects personal service Bombarded with information Feeling some skepticism Things aren t what they used to be. For the hearing industry, changing times are creating new challenges and opportunities. For 30 + years, audiologists success has been predicated on matching and finessing technology to a patient s hearing loss, lifestyle and budget. While this expertise is still vital to successful outcomes, more and more of the tasks associated with technology can now be replaced or made more efficient with automated technology. When trust between the patient and audiologist is high, the quality of care the patient receives and the success of the clinic are likely to be high. Trust is fluid: a patient s perception of trust can change quickly or gradually over time. Patients with high trust in their audiologist are likely to follow their recommendation 90% of the time versus just 50% of the time by those with low trust. Thom, 2002 from English & Kasewurm, 2012 In this changed landscape, how do you create value as you transition from a technology and device focus to a role in which patient-focused care takes center stage? The answer rests primarily with the ability to connect with patients on a deeper level. It s no longer extraordinary technology alone that matters, but how you apply it to evoke positive behavior changes. By nurturing trust, you can enhance the entire in-clinic patient experience, which, in turn, will create more advocates for your practice. Two sides to today s patients Technology isn t the only thing that s changing patients are too. Today the people who walk into your clinic tend to wear two hats. On the one hand they are patients with chronic medical conditions that require professional guidance. But they re also customers, who choose to visit your practice and pay at least a portion out-of-pocket for products and services. There are big differences and an important similarity between customers and patients. Customers have ready access to information via the Internet and social media, and that abundance of information can make them skeptical. A new and important role emerges for audiologists to overcome this mistrust. How? By turning meaningful dialogue with patients into your strategic advantage one that cannot be duplicated by other professions or ever-improving technology. But customers are also patients who need professional attention. In most cases, patients seek an audiologist when their condition has reached a point where they feel compelled to act. Perhaps because there is no physical pain, or because the emotional distress of being unable to communicate is bearable, patients are often ambivalent about their hearing loss, and demonstrate such behaviors as avoidance, denial, vulnerability and ambivalence. Once again, the audiologist must find ways to turn mistrust into trust. The research says: trust rules Numerous studies have examined how adults with chronic medical conditions, such as age-related hearing loss, manage their condition and what influences behavior change. Many of these studies ultimately conclude that patients take action once they feel trust in both the provider and the solution. Trust develops over repeated visits. The primary driver of trust is the quality of the patient-provider relationship. Trust and patient satisfaction are intricately connected. Trust improves continuity of care. These findings underline that time invested developing skills that engender trust in your practice, your staff and your counsel is well spent. In an age where technology is everimproving, your in-clinic success is predicated on your ability to promote trust with the two sides of every individual: skeptical consumer and spiraling patient. It really comes down to trust. Tips for promoting trust Share honest concerns Practice good communcation skills Find common ground to create comfort Expose your own vulnerabilities Try to understand your patient s perspective Focus on their interests This article is based on a paper authored by Brian Taylor, Aud. that was posted on Audiology Online. For the original full-length paper, complete with research citations and references, please visit unitron.com/building trust 6 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 7

6 Behind the scenes It s easy to recognize an excellent Fit Moxi Fit wins 2015 Red Dot Product Design Award When a patient is considering hearing aids, the style truly matters. How the hearing instrument performs and its sound quality is vitally important to their satisfaction, but often a person s first impression is formed by the way the hearing aid looks in the hand and feels on the ear. From speech in noise to conversations Exploring the science behind sound classification To strike a thoughtful balance between comfort, aesthetics and intuitive functionality, Unitron has invested significantly over the last few years in product design, with a goal of creating hearing aids that help improve patient acceptance and eliminate barriers to purchase. That deep commitment to product design is now translating into international recognition for the company s Moxi product family. Earlier this year, Moxi Fit was the recipient of the prestigious Red Dot Award: Product Design And in 2014, Moxi Kiss won both the Red Dot Award for Product Design and the if product design award. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Red Dot Product Design Award is among the world s largest and most distinguished design competitions. A jury of international design experts from 56 countries selected Moxi Fit from over 4900 entries in 31 product categories. The jury was charged with rewarding innovation, functionality, ergonomics, durability and ecological compatibility, among other criteria. We did it again Moxi Fit has received a Red Dot Award for design excellence just like Moxi Kiss before it. What makes Moxi Fit a design winner? Moxi Fit combines style with intuitive functionality to give hearing instrument wearers control in a compact, comfortable and luxurious design. Its smooth, luminescent finish impresses in the hand while its fluid lines and small, contoured form wraps comfortably around the natural curve of the ear, and allows for the more discreet color to show when worn. Moxi Fit also offers intuitively functional components that improve product handling. Wearers can easily control the volume or select programs with the push of a button. Based on extensive user experience and ergonomic response testing, the location and shape of the button allow for intuitive use, even by people with dexterity challenges. The battery door is simple to operate and right/left markers are easy to identify. As with all our product design, our goal with Moxi Fit was to remove patient barriers, specifically through Moxi s established reputation for style, comfort and easy functionality, said André de Goeij, Unitron s Director of Product Management and Product Marketing. It is a testament to our user-centric design philosophy that Moxi Fit was recognized for achieving that rare feat of providing intuitive user control without compromising size or beauty. An interview with Betty Rule, Senior Product Manager and Leonard Cornelisse, Hearing System Scientist The move to a new technology platform offered Unitron s team of audiologists, scientists and engineers an opportunity to re-imagine how North s advanced sound processing capabilities could be leveraged to bring new advantages to patients. In this article, we go behind the scenes with Unitron s Senior Product Manager, Betty Rule and Hearing System Scientist, Leonard Cornelisse to have a conversation about the science behind conversations. Q For many years now, Unitron has put the focus on tackling speech in noise. How is this approach to managing conversations different? Betty: As we know, hearing speech in noise is the number one complaint patients bring into the office of a fitter. When we talk about managing speech in noise, this is really covering a vast array of situations. The speech signal is fairly constant, but the noise environment in which that speech occurs can change quite a bit. For instance having a conversation in a small café with a few people around is very different from having a conversation while walking down a busy street. So when we started to work on the North platform, we decided to look at those noises to understand them better. We really questioned what we could learn and do better, or different, if we narrowed down those background noises. So after much brainstorming and investigation, we came up with four different categories of conversations ( in quiet, in a small group, in a crowd, in noise) that we could treat differently in order to help the patient hear their best. Q Does this more precise classification of speech in noise into four conversation types also help the hearing healthcare professional (HHCP)? Leonard: Definitely. In the past, if a patient came into the clinician s office with an issue in some type of speech in noise, the HHCP had only one environment to adjust. But that adjustment could be a compromise because you were affecting other kinds of speech in noise. Now, because we have split speech in noise into four types of conversations, a clinician can address the issue more specifically. For instance, if someone is having difficulty hearing speech at a party, the hearing instrument can be adjusted more carefully for exactly that hearing challenge. Betty: As a side note, we actually spent a lot of time with our audiology team coming up with names for the types of con- 8 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 9

7 Behind the scenes We re not just trying to move the needle forward. We re trying to help people hear their very best in all listening situations. Betty Rule, Senior Product Manager (foreground), Leonard Cornelisse, Hearing System Scientist (background) versations. We wanted to make sure the terms reflected what the clinician would be managing. For instance, when we say in a crowd, people definitely get a clear picture that there is a large group of people and there are other people speaking around them. We also reviewed the name options with patients to make sure that the terms resonated with them and were easily understood. Q So let s talk about putting that theory into practice. Breaking speech in noise down into four conversations is a significant undertaking, is it not? Leonard: Yes it could of have been challenging to achieve in the timeframe we had, if we had not already been doing extensive work validating this concept. Since as early as 2009, we had been researching ways to leverage our signal processing features to expand how we classify sound we had the idea of a landscape of sound. So when Betty brought the idea to us of categorizing speech in noise into groups of conversations, we understood the concept and knew we had the data and some features to support it. Second, our previous platforms already had the ability to classify sounds. It s just that those previous classifications tended to be more categorical most of the time you were either in Quiet or Speech in noise or Noise. The conversations we were proposing for North would be more of a mixed characteristic so most of the time you would be somewhere in between the environments. If I were to draw an analogy to color, you could look at only discreet primary colors, so blue, red and yellow, or you can look at a rainbow, which has infinite blendings and variations of those primary colors. We re doing the same thing only with sound. By the way, this blending is partly what contributes to the sound quality people experience with North because, for the hearing aid wearer, the transitions between various sound environments are automatic and have now become very smooth. And finally, we had a library of thousands of sounds already logged and tested at our disposal so we knew we could move quite quickly to test the concept of four groupings of conversations on the hearing instruments we were designing. Q How has the new North sound processing platform facilitated this approach? Betty: A new chip with more memory and processing capability offers us such a great opportunity to start fresh and put aside the limitations we had in the past in dealing with sound environments. Our ability to advance is always determined by the platform s computational capabilities, and we had simply reached to a point with the previous platform where we couldn t add another line of code. Era was full! So with North, we started with a blank slate. We asked ourselves, In a perfect ideal world, how would we characterize different environments? How would we split them up? And what would we do about them? This really presented the jumping off point for SoundNav (which classifies signals into the appropriate environments) and Sound Conductor (which balances the appropriate adaptive features to address each listening scenario). Once SoundNav offers more precise classification of seven different environments we had a solid theory worked out, we then began to put it into practice. Q Any behind the scenes secrets you can share about how the team works to bring these technical advancements to the market? Betty: It is going to sound cliché, but it is a collaborative team. It is incredibly important to have a team of people who work well together and who have deep knowledge of where we have come from, as well as the know-how to take us forward. For instance, when we came up with the idea that we could have seven different environments, the audiology team was concerned. They wanted to be sure we could display and present all these environments in the fitting software and still make it clear and intuitive for a clinician. It was a huge leap of faith for them, because the first prototypes we gave them were pretty engineeringish concepts. We spent hours as a collective team brainstorming strategies and concepts. In the end, our audiology in a small group in quiet in a crowd SoundNav Quiet team loves how the environments and features look in our TrueFit software, because it is very transparent the way the 4 conversations (and 7 environments) are presented. We never lost sight of the essence that TrueFit needed to be intuitive and easy to use. Q With North s expanded processing capabilities and memory there s lots more headroom for feature expansion. So where do you go from here? Betty: We have plenty of ideas to keep development busy for years to come. What we can do, and what we should do next, is both a challenge and a huge opportunity. This is why it is always important for us to start from the ground floor up and take a patientcentric view. Every feature we add, every enhancement we make needs to begin with why patients are coming into the clinic in the first place. They are coming in because they want to hear others and participate actively in conversations. At the end of the day, the patient needs to truly value the enhancements we can offer. in noise Noise Music 10 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 11

8 Behind the scenes Participant 1 Real life. Real data. Real opportunity. Log It All: an industry-first counseling tool brings real-life data into the patient conversation Log It All helps me justify the level of technology I am recommending by providing actual evidence of a patient s acoustic lifestyle 35% 65% Data logging Hearing healthcare professionals (HHCPs) have always relied on data logging for insights into the way patients wear and use their hearing aids. But up until recently, it was only possible to gather data based on a patient s current hearing instrument technology level. Clinicians have never had the benefit of a big picture view into a patient s complete, real-world listening patterns to help them understand and address the gaps in their current hearing solution. Log It All, an industry-first feature only available from Unitron, takes the concept of data logging to the next level of performance to provide HHCPs with greater insight into the full spectrum of a patient s listening environments. It does this by capturing a patient s listening experience across seven distinct environments, regardless of technology level being worn, and displays this valuable data for use in counseling. Better information, better patient conversations Having a conversation about technology levels can be challenging for both the patient and the clinician. Higher performance hearing instruments are more costly and patients often struggle to understand if they will benefit from extra features. Too often, the clinician/patient discussion ends up focused on the cost of the hearing instruments rather than on the patient s listening lifestyle and needs. team of engineers, audiologists and product experts are constantly exploring ways to improve and enhance the fitting software to support the counseling and fitting process. In addition, market research was telling them that hearing healthcare professionals were eager to have more in the way of patient-based analytics. However, Log It All only became possible with the introduction of North, Unitron s latest sound processing platform. North provided the necessary processing power to capture and categorize data against those seven distinct listening environments, as well as the memory to store all that valuable information. 9% 9% 7% 10% 15% 13% 37% Log It All Participant 2 32% Data logging Quiet Noise Log It All Quiet listening Quiet conversation Small group conversation Large group conversation in noise Just noise Music Real insight based on complete listening experiences Log It All provides deeper insights into a patient s listening experiences often revealing far more information than a clinician can extract from a client in a traditional counseling session. Busy clinicians never have as much time as they would like to talk with clients about their lifestyle. Furthermore, patients rarely can recall with accuracy what they heard during the course of a day, let alone a week or two ago, says Jennifer Roman, Hearing Instrument Specialist at Unitron. The data provided from Log It All gives a clinician a more complete picture of their patients listening needs and now they can personalize the counseling session and ask better questions of their patient. It is hard for a clinician to show patients where they are struggling in one or more areas of their listening lifestyle when there s no evidence to back it up, explains Tricia Gruetzmacher, Senior Product Manager at Unitron. Clinicians prefer to have a positive conversation about how technology can enhance their patients lives. They don t want to sell their patient on the merits of advanced features. Early adopters in the hearing healthcare community agree. Log It All helps me justify the level of technology I am recommending by providing actual evidence of a patient s acoustic lifestyle, says one UK clinician. Powered by North A feature that pushes the limits of data logging has always been on the Unitron product team s wish list. Unitron s Enhances Flex:trial and Flex:upgrade solutions Finally, Log It All enhances Unitron s Flex:trial and Flex:upgrade solutions which continue to rise in popularity among HHCPs around the globe. When a patient s Flex:trial period is over, a clinician can use Log It All to learn about the different listening environments a patient encountered during their trial period, and modify (if needed) to the optimum technology level for that patient s lifestyle. For current patients who may be struggling in one or more areas of their listening lifestyle, Log It All provides a visual representation of how they may benefit from moving their current hearing instruments to a higher technology level through Flex:upgrade. 68% Data logging 13% 8% 29% 14% 10% 10% 16% Log It All 12 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 13

9 Behind the scenes Unprecedented listening experience has a contagious effect at AudiologyNow! Originality is one of the toughest things to achieve in marketing. We now live in a world filled with marketing messages, so coming up with an original idea that allows your company to stand out from the crowd is a near impossible task. But Unitron s corporate and US marketing teams did just that at this year s AudiologyNow! with an innovative listening experience that had conference attendees lining up in the aisles. The idea to offer trials of the new Moxi Fit hearing instruments powered by the North platform was floated during the conference planning process. Preparing for a conference the scale of AudiologyNow! takes months, explains Dan Lindhorst, Director of Marketing, Unitron US. This year s show represented a bit of a tipping point for us. We knew we needed to do something radically different to generate exposure and enthusiasm for our North launch. That meant finding some way to really drive home the biggest benefit North delivers natural sound quality and the only way to do that was to have people actually hear the difference. The live trials, at this scale, leveraging Moxi Fit hearing instruments powered by North would be an industry first. In preparation for the event, Unitron marketing engaged the company s audiology and technical support team led by manager and Audiologist Jan Storhaug to program and test over 400 hearing instruments for the trials. Jan and her team worked overtime to make the North trial possible. It was a huge challenge to ready that many hearing instruments, especially given the Moxi Fit was new on the market, says Dan. Also, to ensure each hearing instrument delivered rock solid performance during the trial, Jan and the training team re-tested every pair on the show floor before the event began. The live trials were executed using Unitron s Flex:trial devices and Log It All, an industry-first feature that has been recently introduced into the Unitron TrueFit software. Log It All tracks a patient s listening activities across seven environments, and regardless of the technology level they are wearing. Hearing healthcare professionals can then have meaningful conversations about their listening requirements and provide evidence-based recommendations for selecting the optimal technology level for their patient. After wearing the Moxi Fit devices for up to a full day, conference participants were asked to rate their listening experiences using the Net Promoter Score (NPS ), an international standard for measuring, understanding, and improving customer experience. Unitron s trial at AudiologyNOW! resulted in a NPS score of 91 percent an outstanding result, given some of the best companies in the world only earn an NPS score of 80+. The reaction from the 400 plus attendees who participated in the trial was everything the Unitron team hoped for and more. We knew Moxi Fit would be comfortable, but we had people coming in as we were tearing down our booth, apologizing. They were getting ready to leave and realized they are still wearing hearing aids, so were sheepishly coming to return them. The Moxi Fit was so comfortable to wear, they forgot they were still wearing them, chuckles Dan. Unitron s listening experience had a true contagious effect during the conference. The unique concept of trying hearing instruments really drew people in, says Dan. There were points where we were spilling over into both aisles. Even competitors were coming by, trying to see what all the hype was about. Attendees were also amazed by the data insights and knowledge gathered through Log It All. When a person would return to the booth after their trial, the team would first ask them to take a guess about the listening environments they experienced that day. Then, they would jump into Log It All to have a peek at the data collected. People were simply amazed at the insights Log It All revealed. They could instantly see how Log It All would inform and enrich patient conversations. 14 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 15

10 Unitron spotlight North hits the road Getting face to face with hearing healthcare professionals across the US Just one week after the official launch of North to market, Unitron s US team kicked off an ambitious nationwide 39-city seminar tour to introduce the processing platform, the new Moxi Fit product line, Log It All, a new evidence-based counseling tool, and Unitron s in-clinic success strategy to more than 1,000 US hearing healthcare professionals. Over a six week period, members of Unitron s sales, training and marketing teams travelled from coast to coast conducting six seminars a week in major US cities including Chicago, Denver, New York City, Orlando and San Francisco. Upon arrival, attendees were welcomed into a true North experience complete with ambient blue lighting; given a North scarf; and a pre-programmed Moxi Fit Pro hearing aid to wear through the course of the day so they could experience the natural sound quality made possible by North. After a kick off showcasing the GoNorth video, attendees were then presented with Unitron s perspectives on in-clinic success. An overview and training on North, the new Moxi Fit, Log It All and accompanying accessories followed. The afternoon finished off with a networking event, complete with signature, blue-glow Unitron champagne glasses and a photo booth, where attendees were encouraged to take their selfie with a variety of Northinspired accessories then promote it on social media using the #GoNorth hashtag. This roadshow represented a tremendous opportunity for the Unitron team to get face to face with healthcare professionals across the US and share our latest technologies as well as how we can support them in their in-clinic success, says Dan Lindhorst, Director of Marketing, Unitron US. Feedback from hearing healthcare providers attending the event was very positive, with Unitron s in-clinic success strategy eliciting just as many comments and questions as the new platform and product launch. As one participant remarked, the session proved that it really is all about the customer experience. I got a WOW from it, and I felt the support of Unitron for my clinic. We can give our patients the same experience. What we learned from our customers through these sessions is that we are aligned on our beliefs as the message is resonating, and the counseling tools we have created have been well received. says Dan. Clearly in-clinic success is a very intriguing concept for today s healthcare professionals. Marketing to the Grey Ocean The way we market and appeal to the mature generation of consumer those individuals defined as baby boomers needs a significant overhaul, says Edgar Keehnen, founder of AgeWise, an agency devoted to conceptualizing marketing strategies for people 50+, and author of The Grey Ocean Strategy Agewise marketing for the mature consumer. Keehnen presented his Grey Ocean strategy during a keynote delivered to an audience of more than 120 hearing healthcare professionals (HHCPs) who gathered together in April for a full day conference in Amsterdam hosted by Unitron Netherlands. The conference, devoted to better understanding the patient experience, also featured speakers including an ENT/music coach, a neuropsychologist, and Unitron s Director of Product Management and Product Marketing, André de Goeij. Marketing messages best received by the age 50+ consumer are authentic, simple, positive and aspirational Insights from scientific studies regarding aging can be synthesized and applied to real life to create, spread, and realize the right value proposition for the mature consumer. Watch for future articles on marketing to mature consumer. Keehnen s keynote focused on the Seven Spots of Aging, and the changes in emotion and cognition that occur in consumers due to aging. According to Keehnen, to identify the Seven Spots manufacturers targeting the boomer market need to be more empathic; taking the time to know the customer s story, learning how different stages of life are perceived and influence an individual s buying decisions. Marketing messages best received by the age 50+ consumer are authentic, simple, positive and aspirational. Too often healthcare marketing aimed at the older demographic portrays these individuals as deficient in some way and in need of aid. And yet we know that to be untrue. Today s boomers are vibrant, active and don t see themselves as old and in need of help, says André. The Grey Ocean Strategy is centered around understanding the consumer, focusing on the positive gains people can realize through improved hearing, versus focusing on what they have lost. I took away from the event a validation that Unitron is definitely on the right track with our strategy. Technology and product talk is interesting, but at the end of the day you always need convey to your customer what s in it for me. 16 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 17

11 Unitron spotlight Digitally-enhanced marketing Clooney style Trapped between ever-larger retailers and cheap amplifier Internet sales, independent hearing care professionals are more challenged than ever to communicate the differentiating value they bring to patient relationships. At the same time, agencies and advertising reps promise that print media or radio or television advertising or the newest flavor of social media are each the best way to build your practice. With so many options, how do you know which tactic will drive the most benefit? The answer is just an arm s length away patients, caregivers and their friends and families. The challenge is how to bring them closer. You ve already built a successful practice founded upon solid relationships; a good product valued by existing patients and their support networks. Community and office-hosted events, local advertising and direct mail helped with growth. But you may not be sure which is working, your ads may bring in fewer new patients and current patients come in perhaps once a year. Enter digitally-enhanced marketing, Clooney style Picture George Clooney (yes, the famous Hollywood actor). A good product to start with but with digital enhancement of his image, an even better one. Now apply that principle to your own practice. Digitally-enhanced marketing helps you connect with the fastest growing segment of the online population, reinforces your connection with caregivers who already live online, and supports your differentiation in your community. It is not just about more product and discount promotions, it s about raising the level of service you provide to patients and communicating that effectively. And it starts with small adjustments to what you are already doing; little additional effort but a greater cumulative impact. Some getting-started tips: Ask patients which social media channels they use. If you are considering which social media channels to use in your practice, start by asking your patients where they live online and what they like to see there. According to the Canadian Medical Association, More frequent communication with patients and the public improves the quality of medical care and satisfaction with physician care. Social media can enhance the role of traditional media in delivering important public health messages. There is value in integrating social media into your practice building efforts, but it s important to place your bets on the winner to start. Collect addresses. At each event, telephone call or patient visit, ask for an address so that you can provide a thank you note and a reminder for their next appointment or event. Great service for busy or sometimes forgetful patients. Further enhance this service with a follow up message after a fitting with helpful tips on maintaining their investment in hearing instruments. (TrueFit software helps automate this process including links to helpful videos). If the patient visits with a caregiver, ask for his/her as well so that you can help them stay informed of the care for their loved one. Your contact database is a great marketing tool if you keep it current. Include website links in advertising. When you advertise in your local newspaper, on local radio or direct mail, include a link to your website; even better, provide a web-address link to a specific page of your website that directly relates to your special service offering. With Google Analytics connected to your website (it s free), you can measure visits from the advertising including where folks come from and which information is important to them. At the same time, you build your reputation in the community as a go-to resource for hearing health care information. Don t forget to leverage manufacturers content for your site if you don t have the time or resources to create your own. Answer questions in your social media posts. If you are already using social media (Facebook, Twitter or any of the vast list of others), focus on fewer channels and invest the time to truly connect with your patients and their caregivers first. Share useful information (posts about product promotions such as 20% off batteries or the newest product now in are okay, but should be limited); it s about building the relationship online, not pushing product. Examples include tips on how to test your hearing in the privacy of their own home, or caring for hearing aids if they ve already been fitted. You and/or your staff answer many questions day in and day out collect them and use that content to share those answers while providing valuable information online. For more information on this and other tips on building relationships and your practice through digitally-enhanced marketing, connect with Unitron on LinkedIn. Starting this August, we ll publish a fresh installment the third Thursday of each month. Sorry, George won t be joining us. Follow us on LinkedIn: If there are topics you would like to explore further selecting the channel and nurturing your social media presence, improving your success rate in online search, how to find and create valuable content, etc., or want to share your comments or success stories in this field, drop us on line on LinkedIn. Not only will we reply, but we ll consider them for our series. Visit to find out more about Google Analytics 18 Unitron Magazine Unitron Magazine 19

12 The last word The world s top 10 favorite sounds 1 Children s laughter Favorite Sound campaign becomes a global conversation 2 Rustling leaves Regardless of similarities and differences, the Favorite Sound findings remind us of the real reasons that hearing matters The latest evolution of the Favorite Sound map is an even more interactive online experience that invites patients to add their own favorite sound to the collection and share it on social media. Engaging new in-clinic Favorite Sound materials, including a lobby video and vibrant point of sale materials, are also debuting in clinics around the world this summer and fall. The Favorite Sound conversation continues: watch for updates! Discover the world of favorite sounds, country by country and add yours. unitron.com/favorite-sound 3 Rainfall 4 Cats purring He says, she says The top sound of men and women Unitron s hearing awareness campaign reveals that sound really does unite us Several years ago, Unitron began asking people around the world to tell us about their favorite sound. We started with our employees and our hearing healthcare professional customers and the responses flooded in. We ve learned so much about the sounds that move and unite us that we ve kept right on asking the question. Now through new in-clinic materials, and digital and social media we re giving our customers a unique way to invite patients to add their favorite sound to this growing, global conversation. Favorite Sound is Unitron s hearing awareness campaign that has encouraged people from more than 30 countries to tell us about the sounds they love to hear. What we ve discovered by asking this simple question is both amazing and gratifying, says Tracy Phillips, Director, Company Brand. Many of the favorite sounds people told us about turned out to be the same ones across countries and continents, languages and cultures. We have a lot in common. We also have differences, which reflect that hearing is a very personal experience. 20 Unitron Magazine To keep the conversation going, we shared the Favorite Sound findings on an interactive map of the world at North America s 2015 AudiologyNow! and will share them again this fall at the EUHA Congress in Nuremberg, Germany. This high-impact, visual map is a great way to remind ourselves of the everyday importance of what we do, and also to see the areas of commonality and difference, says Phillips. 5 Birds chirping 6 Roar of engines Women favorite sound is children 7 Music 8 Waterfalls Men favorite sound is music 9 Ocean waves 10 Applause Unitron Magazine 21