Communication Skills Training

The Importance of Communication Skills Training (Even for Hearing Professionals)

Patient communication is something you deal with every day. You communicate with your patients as you discuss their issues and concerns, assess their hearing, provide treatment recommendations, and follow up on treatment outcomes. Since patient communication is such an essential and integral part of your day-to-day work, you probably do not give it much thought.
However, perhaps you should give patient communication more thought, precisely because it is so essential. Although you practice communication on a daily basis, you may want to consider some additional communication skills training. Communication skills training focuses on optimizing clinician communication skills. The goal is to better meet patient needs, priorities, and values.
In recent years, communication skills training has become more and more of a priority in health care. Despite the focus on communication, however, few healthcare providers properly acknowledge the importance of hearing and understanding in medical settings.
As a hearing healthcare professional, you are likely familiar with this issue. Unfortunately, to medical professionals in other healthcare fields, the importance of a patient’s ability to hear and understand may not seem so obvious and essential. Much of communication skills training focuses on enhancing the healthcare provider’s communication skills, but even a clinician with the best of skills will not be able to effectively share information with a patient who cannot hear well.
In fact, recent studies have found that patients with impaired hearing are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. Researchers believe this is because patients with hearing loss have difficulty communicating with their doctor or other medical personnel. One recent study found that patients who reported trouble communicating had an average of 32 percent greater likelihood of hospital readmission. Another study discovered that patients with self-reported hearing aid use had a reduced incidence of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and nights spent in the hospital.
Studies have also shown that patients with compromised hearing status had lower treatment adherence. These recent studies make clear that a patient’s ability to hear and understand their healthcare provider is critical to optimizing communication. As a hearing professional, you can assess a patient’s hearing ability and tailor your communication to fit their needs. You can also recommend hearing aid use to improve their understanding and enhance overall patient communication.
Although your profession in the hearing healthcare field makes you familiar with problems that may arise when a patient cannot hear or understand well, it is important to keep these issues in mind as you communicate with your patients. As you share information with your patients, be sure to check that they understand you. It is also important to leave time for silence, during which time the patient can raise any questions or concerns they may have about the information you have provided.
You can also use your specialized knowledge and understanding of patients’ hearing difficulties to raise awareness of these issues among other healthcare providers. In addition to seeking communication skills training of your own, you can become an advocate for communication that includes an understanding of the patient’s hearing ability.
To learn more about the importance of communication skills training and other ways you can enhance your hearing practice, we welcome you to contact AudiologyPlus today.

3 arrows in the bulls-eye of a target

Reach the Customers You Want with Precision Targeting

A huge perk of online marketing is the ability to target your ads to people expressly interested in your services. If a person is online, searching for information or professionals related to tinnitus, for example, you can clearly define that in your ad’s parameters and increase the odds that she or he will click through to your website. It’s these detailed targeting features, along with a notable cost-effectiveness, that’s made digital ads a popular option for businesses looking for increased traffic (both online and in-person).
Advertising services like Google Adwords and Sponsored Ads on Facebook offer an impressive array of details about the people you want to show your ads to. Whether you target people searching for topics related to your business, specify their location, or even define the kinds of interests they have, you can expect your campaigns will be shown to the right kind person.
Consider the possibilities for your business if you could directly reach the people in need of your services. Below we walk through what’s possible with precision targeting on two of the leading online marketing platforms: Google and Facebook.
Keyword Targeting
When in need of local services, an increasing number of people are going online to research their options before visiting any office or store in-person. In fact, 97% of people reported going online to look for a local business just last year. These kinds of pursuits usually start with people using a search engine like Google to find businesses that meet their needs. The words they use to perform their search include keywords for the respective industry they’re interested in. And these keywords are prime targets for online ads.
Through Google Adwords, keyword targeting can enable a business to place their website at the top of the search results and on related websites. It’s a versatile approach to finding your customers online as it offers a wide array of options for narrowing in on your ideal keywords. For instance, the keywords, “hearing loss” could be set up to trigger your ad when used in a phrase (such as, “symptoms of hearing loss”), by itself, and as broad or precise as you prefer.
Keyword targeting on Google can vary widely in cost, with the most popular (and obvious) keywords for a given industry costing the most. On Facebook, targeting audiences based on specific keywords doesn’t increase the cost, but can either increase or decrease your audience selection, ultimately defining the number of people likely to see your ad. The benefit of both platforms, however, is that you only pay for your ads when someone actually clicks them (hence, pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising).
Location Targeting
Targeting people within a certain distance from your office is an ideal choice for marketing your practice. It significantly boosts the number of people your ads will reach and also helps bring the cost down for highly competitive keywords (like “hearing loss” or “hearing aids”).
Location targeting is available for ads on both Google and Facebook, but is more advanced on Google. A targeting strategy known as “geofencing” has become popular for targeting audiences in specific areas, allowing marketers to place a virtual fence around a location and target only those people inside of it, as well as anyone who crosses into that space.
The novelty of geofencing is its use of GPS in conjunction with targeted ads, allowing a level of location precision never before available. For instance, an ad can be set to target people visiting a competitor’s business, or temporarily be set for a relevant event (i.e. a loud rock concert, etc).  
Facebook ads allow the specificity of locations on the city, state, and country level, but their limitation with location targeting is more than made up for by their detailed personal data for audiences.
Audience Targeting
Basic demographic qualifiers, like age, gender, country of residence, and language are adjustable for ad targeting on both Google and Facebook. But the similarities in audience targeting quickly end there, as Facebook’s giant trove of data about its users is far more granular than Google’s. From pages people have liked, to their profession, income level, education, interests, behaviors, and even recent life events, Facebook has a long list of personal data that proves useful when trying to market to a specific market online.
The trick with audience targeting on both Google and Facebook is to find the sweet spot of accessing just enough people without diluting your targeting goals. Keep things too broad and you’ll run the risk of people not being interested in your ads. Make your parameters too narrow and you’ll risk not enough people seeing your ad at all. Finding that elusive sweet spot requires some trial and error, but by diligently following the metrics of your campaigns and adjusting your ads and targeting accordingly, you’ll eventually settle on audience parameters that deliver the conversions you’re seeking.

Online marketing has proven to be significantly more successful for business owners than traditional marketing ever could be. And it’s not hard to see why: targeting your audience is easier and more precise, campaign tracking is rich with detail and enables you to make necessary adjustments instantly, and more people are looking online for local businesses than ever before.
If your business has yet to take advantage of online marketing, be it through PPC ads or a strong online presence, there’s no better time than now. Contact us to find out how our clients are realizing growth in their businesses they never thought possible.