Two Private Practice Leaders Share Their Views On OTC And How They’re Amending Their Offering To Deal With The Change

Dr. Jen Mayer from South Sound Hearing Center and Dr. Julie Hubik from Cornerstone Audiology were interviewed at the launch of the Jabra Enhance Plus to share their views on OTC (Over the Counter) hearing devices and whether they believe they are a good thing or a bad thing.

With the hearing care industry facing unprecedented changes with OTC (Over the Counter) hearing devices hitting the market – it can feel somewhat devastating.

Such was the case for Dr. Jen Mayer from South Sound Hearing Center.

She shares that upon hearing about the bill being passed on OTC hearing devices, initially she was very worried things would not go well for her. After spending so much time earning her degrees and investing in her own practice … suddenly the whole concept of personalized hearing care and treatment could dissolve around her.

The common fear among hearing care specialists was that the foundation of their profession was crumbling, leaving a feeling of uncertainty about their future and about the quality of hearing solutions for those in need.

Would it be possible for someone to get great results without trained examinations and fittings?

Dr. Mayer says that after dealing with the initial concerns, she had some time to wrap her head around what this would mean for her practice and that she could play a crucial role in the implementation of this new wave of products.

Adapting to changes in any industry is crucial for success; being an active part of that change instead of opposing it often leads to a shared benefit. Of course, that doesn’t mean integration won’t come without challenges.

Dr. Julie Hubik from Cornerstone Audiology shares similar sentiments.

At first, she experienced denial that such a bill would be passed to release the selling of over-the-counter hearing devices, followed by the same concerns that her practice and livelihood would be in danger by this new threat.

She expresses that there was a lot of mystery surrounding the changes at first. They just didn’t know what was coming.

Both Dr. Hubik and Dr. Mayer were involved in a focus group and were able to see what kind of products would be made available, and they had the opportunity to examine their roles and responsibilities with these new conditions.

Dr. Mayer says she can see how this will be essential in the industry, and she can now see the change in a new, positive light as she prepares to integrate these products into her own practice for the appropriate candidates.

She also explains how crucial it is for a patient to feel comfortable when fitted with a medical hearing device. For someone who is not prepared to take that step, there are now going to be OTC options we can offer them and being a part of that is really an opportunity to reach a wider demographic.

Dr. Hubik explains that being a part of the focus group and learning more about the products available has been incredibly helpful, and more importantly understanding the demographic looking to buy OTC devices and their needs.

She has learned that much of that demographic is not currently seeking treatment at her practice, therefore a loss of business in her field is not eminent.

So, while hearing care solutions have been limited to a large demographic due to the expense and protocols within the medical field, this is good news. We can look at a new category of consumer electronics as a possible solution for those who may not qualify or feel comfortable with being fitted with a medical device.

Expanding opportunity is part of our ever-evolving society, and there is usually a choice to be threatened by these changes or adapt and be a part of them.

Getting informed and gaining experience with new products is going to give each practice the edge on competitive new products … knowing where and when they are suitable and applying that knowledge in a genuine, educated way will preserve the trust in each hearing care practice.

Dr. Mayer’s viewpoint is to gain and share education on these new opportunities and challenges. To start implementing these new devices to the appropriate users, those who may not want to go the medical route, then collecting data on the results.

Taking early initiative to support these new products in the appropriate situations can open new opportunities in our field, previously untapped.

Education, experimentation, and implementation for the sake of understanding every angle of our expanding field is going to keep our practices going strong.

Using creativity and stretching our horizons will be essential for success in this rapidly changing world. With consumer options growing, the need for more information about those options increases.

If you’ve ever faced an extensive restaurant menu with so many options to choose from, doesn’t it drive you to ask the server for a house recommendation? In a sea of decisions to be made, we look for educated advice.

Being equipped with that educated, experienced advice will always give you the biggest edge over competition, especially when that advice is offered with a genuine concern for your patients’ best interests.

What are your thoughts? Drop a comment in the box below.

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