Auditory Insight announced the release of new research showing that despite booming consumer interest in online hearing testing, none of the leading tests consistently use best practices to encourage patients to pursue treatment with hearing aids.
Hearing aid companies report that patient usage of online hearing tests has increased by as much as 500% since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in late March 2020. “Online hearing tests are the gateway to care,” says Nancy M. Williams, lead study author and Auditory Insight president. “They have tremendous potential to shorten the life cycle for treatment and increase patient satisfaction.”
Auditory Insight’s study examines online hearing tests from eight leading D2C hearing aid brands, including Audicus, Eargo, and MDHearingAid, as well as from eight leading brands retailed through audiologists, including Phonak, GN ReSound, and Starkey.
Using a proprietary framework, Auditory Insight evaluates each test along five patient engagement best practices, from designing patient-centered tests, to presenting meaningful test results, to delivering engaging calls to action. Findings include:
- The average patient engagement score across the 16 tests is only 33% of the potential total;
- Tests from D2C companies have a patient engagement score of 40%, in contrast to 27% for tests by companies who retail through audiologists;
- The tests have erratic performance, with only four tests performing well in more than one of the five patient engagement best practices,
- Over 67% of tests fail to deliver an engaging call to action for treatment.
The stakes are high for hearing aid companies because for adults age 50 and older with hearing loss, only about 15% regularly use hearing aids. Fully 20% of adults age 50 and older have never had their hearing tested or cannot recall taking a hearing test, according to an Auditory Insight analysis of 10,000 NHANES-surveyed participants. By 2030, the number of people over 50 with hearing loss is forecast to balloon from 40M to 50M.
Auditory Insight expects that online hearing tests will play a pivotal role for over-the-counter (OTC) devices. Legislation enacted in August 2017 calls for the FDA to create a new class of OTC hearing aids. “A sizable segment of consumers interested in an OTC device will first want to assess their hearing online,” said Williams.
The complete study is available for purchase at Auditory Insight: US Online Hearing Testing and Best Practices for Patient Engagement in Response to COVID-19. Executives responsible for making investments in hearing healthcare may preview the study’s table of contents, unique benefits, and representative pages.
Source: Auditory Insight
Image: Auditory Insight