PAC 2016: Audiology clinical workshops

Application of video otoscopy in audiology

Dr Kingstone Katebe, HJVP Bath, ran a brilliantly attended workshop looking at the benefits of video otoscopy for our customers. Key messages were:

  • Video otoscopy provides the means for better diagnosis and documentation of ear pathology.
  • It allows for effective communication of findings with the patients and their medical practitioners.
  • It is also an effective tool for peer-to-peer learning and professional advancement.

Getting shiny happy people – The value of Real Ear Measurements

Delivered by Widex Sonja Jones, audiologist and trainer, this session asked clinicians to consider the benefits and challenges in fitting a hearing instrument. Sonja discussed the value of hearing aid verification using REMs (real ear measurements) and the importance of this when considering sound pressure levels at the tympanic membrane. Her session also considered rehabilitation and retention following fitting using REMs and the customers satisfaction post fit.

Sonja’s top tips for REMs:

  1. REMs is a tool for verification to understand whether the hearing aid is doing what we THINK it’s doing – use it as a starting point for all fittings in order to understand whether your patient is hearing as well as they could be.
  2. If your patient finds hearing on target too loud – don’t be too quick to fine-tune or revert to ‘clicking and fitting’; consider simply reducing the acclimatisation level and increase gradually so their brain can adjust to the new way of hearing, and in turn, listening. New or existing user – a new and well-fitted device will always be different to THEIR normal.
  3. A quick and easy option of manually running verification in order to visualise the in-situ output of a device, therefore, knowing whether we’re giving the patient what they need to hear speech, is to run a Real Ear Aided Response; bilateral verification can take under one minute if you do this.

Challenging fitting and customer rehabilitation

Another highlight of the afternoon workshops, saw the first peer discussion session – run by two Specsavers Hearing Care Assistants, Ronnie McEwan from Bexley Heath and Steven Tweddle from Lincoln Morrison’s, supported by Mark Henderson, HJVP from Worthing.

They presented a challenging case study of a severe ski-slope loss and successfully instigated a useful debate into the possible fitting and rehabilitation solutions such a difficult loss. Mark (pictured with some of the delegates) was incredibly impressed by the approach the HCA audience took towards appropriate solutions for this case study:

“I spent Sunday afternoon in the company of approx. 50 HCAs. They were intelligent, good-humoured and keen to learn… the HCA role is the way forward for all Hearcare businesses. They are enthusiastic, and can perform most tasks such as fittings, annual recalls and services, leaving the HAD to focus on testing and product recommendation.”

Key takeaways from the workshops were:

  • Don’t be tempted to over amplify – more volume doesn’t mean clarity.
  • Consider accessories to further improve the hearing experience.
  • Never underestimate the power of counselling and empathy to facilitate rehab.

Driving practice standards and How to be a great Supervisor

Run by Nick Taylor and Charlie Clements from Professional Services.

Nick’s session, Driving Practice Standards, looked at whilst our business get busier and busier it can become even more challenging to deliver great customer service whilst maintaining high levels of clinical practice. Nick’s key points were:

  • Know your clinical standards and make sure that all clinicians are achieving them.
  • Audit regularly to ensure that these standards are being met by all clinician and implement action plans for further improvement
  • Maintain a balance between clinical and commercial – don’t sacrifice high clinical standards.

Charlie’s session, How to be a great Supervisor, explored the challenges we face as a business to supervise our student clinicians.  Busy clinics and diaries can’t be used as an excuse to fall short on supervision – planned one-to-one time is critical for a confident and competent student.

Charlie’s key take-aways were:

  • Let them do as well as watch. 90% of what we learn is retained by physically doing an activity rather than watching it. Consider ‘360 degree’ supervision – Jake Tyers, Leicester. “Letting the student audit/observe you builds 2-way trust and communication”
  • Understand the course objectives and plan practical supervision around these.
  • Don’t pressure – people learn in different ways and at different paces. Try to understand each individuals needs to facilitate their training.

Driving domiciliary

Mike Rowe, Head of Retail Hearing – South, presented a business focussed workshop, looking at our home-bound domiciliary Hearcare customers. The session discussed:

  • The market and the size of the opportunity
  • The barriers and solutions to developing a domiciliary Hearcare offer
  • The potential of linking to your Healthcall partners and gaining access to an immediate market

Key take-aways from this session were:

  • Business opportunity that is worth circa £15m if we achieve the same market share as our store offer
  • Ability to offer our great service and value to all our customers including our most vulnerable individuals
  • If we don’t do it, our competitors will!

Features tell – Benefits sell

Kevin Jardine, Retail Excellence Partnership, ran a short interactive session exploring why people really buy hearing aids. He proposed that, by connecting better with our customers and genuinely understanding their buying motives, we can provide solutions that change their lives and that make them feel great about investing in better hearing. The session explored the real motivators behind all purchases and focused specifically on the emotional benefits that lie behind purchasing Specsavers hearing aids and services.

Key messages:

  1. There are 6 main drivers or reasons people buy;
    a.   Ego/status
    b.   Safety/security
    c.   Value/profit
    d.   Social/leisure
    e.   Pleasure/self-actualisation
    f.   Ease/convenience
  2. Turn features into benefits by asking “So what?”
  3. Turn benefits into the appropriate emotional benefit for that person by saying “..which means that…” And linking it to the appropriate driver for that person


For a confidential, no-obligation discussion contact Julia Hewagama today.

Telephone: 0409 015 519

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