Many of my adult patients tell me they don't wear their hearing aids regularly because they "get in the way" or they don't want to risk damaging them during their normal daily activities. Is this a common complaint across the industry, and if so, what can I do to increase patient compliance and satisfaction?
We at Siemens commissioned a survey over the phone with 500 people across the United States who had been using a hearing instrument on a daily basis for at least the past two years. We asked a number of questions about how their daily life is affected by the fact that hearing aids naturally have some limitations. We asked about their daily routines and the activities they would like to participate in. We also wanted to know what potentially risky activities they participate in while wearing their hearing aids—"risky activities" meaning ones that would, obviously, damage their hearing instruments. These included such things as showering or bathing and walking vigorously.
We found that about 30% reported that the weather actually affected their daily routine. For example, during heavy rain, 17% said that they take their hearing aids off, 9% don't even go outside, and 3% turn off their hearing aids because they think it can save the electronic device. In reality, we know that when a traditional instrument gets saturated enough, it will be damaged, whether it's on or off. Thirty percent of these 500 respondents said that they rarely participate in certain activities that they would otherwise love because of their hearing aids. Some activities included taking a spa or Jacuzzi, water skiing, swimming at the beach or pool, snorkeling and woodworking.
When asked if they would be interested in a hearing aid that was waterproof, dustproof and shock resistant, 53% of respondents said they would be somewhat or extremely interested in these attributes. When we asked which of these three features they would be most interested in or excited about, waterproof came in first at 71%, followed by shock resistant at 63%, and dustproof at 60%. Obviously, we see there's a need in the marketplace for an instrument that can meet these needs.
Siemens introduced Aquaris™, a BTE instrument that addresses all of these patient concerns with remarkable accuracy. In the development process, Aquaris was put through an Ingress Protection rating test. Aquaris achieved a rating at IP57. The 5 in IP57 means that it is dustproof. The 7 in IP57 means that the instrument can be completely submerged into three feet of water for thirty minutes and come out completely operational. You can view more details about these tests and watch them being performed in the YouTube video entitled Siemens Aquaris, tested tough. There are a number of other videos on Aquaris, including the IP57 test, available on both YouTube and our Web site. For further information please visit: www.siemens.com/healthcare or the Siemens web channel on AudiologyOnline.
Alina Urdaneta is the Vice President of Marketing at Siemens Hearing Instruments. Her responsibilities include marketing, communications, press, product marketing and training.