Why Hearing Healthcare Is the Future

Most of us innately understand the importance of well-being and even have a good idea about how to safeguard it. Just look at all the ads for wellness related products on the market and how they encompass physical, mental, and emotional health, if not all three at once.

Because of all this information, consumers are more literate about wellness than ever before, understanding that every dimension of health is intricately tied to the others. Well-being doesn’t just pertain to physical and emotional capacities; it extends to personal and social resources, such as camaraderie and support from friends and family.

We experience these external resources through our senses, especially hearing, which is known as the “social sense” because of how it connects people to each other in real time. Think about the privileges (or disadvantages) of certain hearing levels. It impacts how easily people bond with their loved ones, how they relate to coworkers and employers, which hobbies they can enjoy, and every aspect of how they navigate the world. All of this can even impact socioeconomic status.

Hearing health is directly tied to overall well-being, and it’s time to amplify its importance.

The Epidemic of Hearing Loss

The shift toward working from home brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting hearing issues for those who have ignored their hearing for years. In a world of virtual meetings and mask mandates, adaptations such as lip reading are not enough. In addition, employees are now spending upwards of 10 hours a day wearing headphones, a level of noise exposure that can dramatically increase the risk of injury.

In addition, the World Health Organization has found that more than 430 million people (5 percent of the global population) suffer from some form of hearing loss. By the year 2050, this number could grow to as high as 700 million. In the United States, 48 million people currently suffer from some audiologic disorder, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. However, only one third of people with these issues actually wear a hearing aid.

Despite the need, there are many barriers to receiving proper hearing healthcare for both patients and audiologists. For one, solutions are often limited to hearing aids that don’t meet the needs of patients with mild to moderate hearing loss. These patients may be uncomfortable wearing the devices and forgo treatment. Another barrier is that hearing aids are quite expensive, so many patients may be unable to afford them, even when they need them. Complicating matters, industry trends have forced audiology practices into commission-based revenue. The lack of other solutions leaves patients without care and makes it challenging for audiologists to focus on sharing their clinical expertise. No one is winning.

Tuned: The Future of Hearing Healthcare

In 2017, Congress opened the door to a new era for hearing healthcare with the passage of the Over the Counter Hearing Act, expanding access to OTC hearing devices. However, not much has changed since then. In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order pushing for greater competition in healthcare and other industries, finally fueling the expansion efforts that began in 2017. Now, the market is ready for rapid change.

In addition, thanks to the quiet and solitude of quarantine, working adults are rethinking the effects of loud sounds in their day-to-day lives. As the world reopens and they return to public life, they are looking for protective wear to safeguard their hearing and minimize reception in loud environments. Others need hearing rehabilitation because they can no longer ignore their hearing issues.

Enter Tuned, a new kind of telehealth service that allows audiologists to lead the hearing care revolution. It features a brand-agnostic marketplace for audiologist-vetted hearing devices, apps, and other solutions that help patients across the spectrum of hearing goals — from conservation and preservation to hearing loss management — at price points everyone can afford. In addition, Tuned’s proprietary hearing screening technology allows audiologists to diagnose issues online, while patients test from the comfort of their own homes. Audiologists can operate completely virtual clinics with HIPAA-compliant scheduling, billing, and videoconferencing.

Tuned expands patient access to hearing healthcare and provides the platform for audiologists to lead the way. Try it today as a patient. Get started here if you’re an audiologist.

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Kate McGinley

Kate McGinley

Committed to bringing hearing health to all. Chief Growth Officer at TunedCare.com