Reasons for Optimism in 2021

Reasons for Optimism in Audiology in 2021

As we begin 2021, you may be thinking that this year feels oddly similar to last year. Many people had hopes that 2021 would be completely different from 2020—free from the worries caused by a global pandemic and other far-reaching events. Although January 1, 2021, was not a magic date that ended all of the challenges, difficulties, or stress that began in 2020, there are many reasons to be optimistic in this new year.

2021 may indeed bear some similarities to 2020, such as adapted ways of doing business and living your day-to-day life thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, audiology leaders foresee a bright year in which audiology professionals around the world will continue to provide high-quality, personalized care to their patients. Here are a few reasons you can feel optimistic in 2021:

  • Greater access to hearing healthcare through telemedicine

One of the first challenges that arose at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was how to care for your patients when it was a potential health risk to you, your team, and your patients to see them in person. A huge portion of audiology professionals rose to the occasion by adopting new technology that makes telemedicine not only possible, but a convenient, safe, and simple choice for providing your patients with personalized care.

While in-person visits will never be obsolete, telemedicine gives you a way to care for patients who cannot come to your office for any reason.

  • Highlighted importance of hearing health

Many areas of the country and the world have experienced lockdowns. In these times, when people had very limited contact with anyone outside of their household, it quickly became apparent how important hearing is. With more and more people turning to technology like video calls, making sure you can hear those you are speaking to is essential. This highlighted to many people that they had been neglecting their hearing health and encouraged them to seek the professional care they needed.

This trend will continue in 2021 as video calls and other technologies remain the norm for conducting business, attending school, reaching family members, and more.

  • Decreasing the stigma surrounding hearing aids

With more and more people realizing that they would benefit from hearing aids or other types of hearing health care, the stigma surrounding these devices is fading quickly. Hearing aids are continually being made smaller, more discreet, and easier to use, and people find them easier to accept in their lives. As hearing aids become increasingly acceptable to the consumer, more people will feel comfortable seeking the hearing healthcare they need.

  • Increased collaboration with other healthcare providers

It would be a great understatement to say that the healthcare industry was under stress in 2020. Challenges arose that most health professionals had never experienced before. The response, however, was one that impressed the world. In 2020, audiology professionals began collaborating with other healthcare professionals in unique ways. This will continue to grow in 2021, with ever-expanding opportunities to move the industry forward and better deal with new challenges.

  • Growing patient control over hearing devices

Hearing healthcare technology has improved immensely in recent years, and it is not slowing down now. One of the greatest innovations seen in 2020 was that more patients were able to adjust their own hearing devices through their smartphone or computer. Giving patients more control over their devices allows them to make the necessary adjustments without the need for an in-office visit. While 2021 may bring its own challenges, and you may still be working through some difficulties that began in 2020, there is no doubt that this year is full of new opportunities. To learn more about how to continue to grow your business in 2021, we invite you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus.

Boost in Online Hearing Services

New Study Foresees a Boost in Online Hearing Services

As the world continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that some things will simply never be the same again. Other things may return to what was previously considered normal, but it will take time. Social distancing of six feet is being enforced in stores, restaurants, offices, and other public places, and certain businesses are requiring temperature checks before admitting entrance as well.
While this means you may be able to return to your favorite restaurant soon (with new restrictions and guidelines in place), what does it mean for your hearing practice? Will everything go back to “normal”?
According to a survey conducted in April 2020, your practice may not go back to normal—but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The survey was conducted in Spain, with 782 persons from the Spanish audiology industry taking part. It was carried out during the height of the lockdown in Spain, from April 20-24, 2020.
First, the survey revealed that most practices had taken a big hit to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown restrictions. In hearing aid sales, 77 percent of practices claimed they saw a 100 percent reduction in turnover from device fittings. 52 percent reported a similar loss of business in accessory sales, and 45 percent said they had registered zero income from repairs during the time in question.
Because of the reduction in sales and income, many practices reported they had had to take measures in regards to their staff. 76 percent said they had taken measures that affected employees, and 40 percent planned on a reduction in their overall business budget. 26 percent reported that they expected to spend in order to announce the reopening of their practices.
However, the survey reported more than only the business losses suffered by these Spanish audiology practices. Almost half of the participants said they believed an upturn in sales would come in the fall, around September or October. 20 percent of respondents, on the other hand, believed they would have to wait until 2021 to see an increase.
As for returning to “normal” practices, 61 percent of participants reported that they expect their sales revenue to continue coming through traditional channels. In other words, they expect that they will continue to make income through in-office visits and in-person appointments. 34 percent of respondents, however, foresaw a “mixed model” of business, with both online and offline services.
Many hearing practices have adopted a service model that is focused more on online services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes virtual appointments, at which the hearing specialist and the patient meet online. As seen by the respondents to the survey in Spain, it is not expected that online services will cease once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Some patients may choose to continue virtual appointments, especially if they have health concerns and would prefer not to go to public spaces.
Because of this continuing shift to a mixture of online and offline services, it is essential that you are prepared to accommodate your clients, no matter how they prefer to meet with you. Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic are ready to help you easily make the shift to online hearing healthcare.
To learn more about the importance of offering online services at this time and how you can better meet the needs of your clients, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We are eager to help you grow your business.