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HearUSA - Newsweek - September 2023

HearUSA on Expanding Healthcare Accessibility and Prioritizing the Client Experience

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD

June 10, 2024

AudiologyOnline spoke to Gemma Gray, Sr. Director of Professional Development and Retail Expansion at HearUSA to discuss the company’s presence at AAA 2024, the importance of hearing care accessibility, and what is new for HearUSA this year.


AudiologyOnline: Tell me about the new scholarship you’ve launched with the American Academy of Audiology. Why did you decide to announce it at AAA 2024?

Gemma Gray

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: As hearing care accessibility remains a critical issue in the United States, we partnered with the American Academy of Audiology on the Jill Botkin Hearing Healthcare Accessibility Scholarship knowing that support for aspiring audiologists is crucial to ensuring equitable access to essential hearing healthcare services. It’s named in honor of Jill Botkin — a thirty-five year employee of HearUSA who passed away in 2023.

Our industry needs more audiologists to ensure every American living with hearing loss receives the care and support they deserve. We believe this scholarship will make a meaningful difference in the lives and careers of future audiologists who are committed to providing greater access to hearing care services. There was no better place to announce the scholarship than at AAA, the premier destination in the audiology field, bringing together professionals, researchers, educators, and industry representatives to discuss the latest advancements, research findings, and technologies.

AudiologyOnline: What were your takeaways from AAA 2024? What goals do you feel were accomplished?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: Aside from getting the word out around the Jill Botkin Hearing Healthcare Accessibility Scholarship, AAA presented us with a great opportunity to meet and network with the next generation of professionals eager to join HearUSA on the journey to continue transforming the hearing healthcare space. After meeting with us, we’re confident that the HCPs, AuDs, and AuD students we connected with at the expo came away convinced that HearUSA is a great place to work, particularly if you share our passion for expanding access to quality hearing care.

AudiologyOnline: Prior to this year’s AAA, HearUSA opened new Hearing Centers of the Future in markets across the country. What’s the goal behind the openings?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: It again goes back to expanding access. By opening more centers across the country, we’re not only providing greater access to the latest prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids but also offering the information and resources that can help clients shatter the stigma long associated with hearing loss and begin living healthier, more engaged lives.

AudiologyOnline: How do HearUSA centers prioritize enhancing the client experience? 

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: HearUSA centers are designed to help clients experience hearing care in a new way that suits their individual needs and lifestyle. Each features a modern design concept that is innovative, welcoming, and engaging, with open spaces and product displays. At the centers’ core are dedicated teams of HearUSA HCPs and Client Experience Specialists, aiding clients in discovering and understanding cutting-edge hearing aids and their crucial features for successful adoption, while also assisting clients in maximizing insurance benefits and flexible financing.

AudiologyOnline: Has HearUSA introduced any new products or innovations at its centers?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: Yes, the Signia Pure Charge&Go IX and Silk Charge&Go IX hearing aids are available at our more than 380 centers across the country. The devices are designed on Signia’s award-winning Integrated Xperience (IX) platform, the world’s first hearing aid platform capable of pinpointing multiple conversation partners in real-time, thus providing unprecedented sound clarity and definition for clients in multi-speaker scenarios, even when the wearer or speakers are in motion.

The same goes for Widex SmartRIC, a device that introduces new angles of natural hearing through an innovative L-shaped design that improves microphone angles to enhance hearing across every listening environment.

AudiologyOnline: Why were Huntington Beach, CA and Southlake, TX selected as locations for HearUSA’s second and third HearAcademy Learning Centers?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: The new HearAcademy Learning Centers enable us to enhance our professional development initiatives, while being more convenient for those living on the West Coast and in the South.

AudiologyOnline: Can you provide a refresher on the purpose of HearAcademy?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: The HearAcademy Learning Centers serve as a training ground for participants in our Hearing Instrument Specialist (HIS) Apprentice Program, which provides apprentices with the education and clinical experience they need to become licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist with HearUSA, as part of our commitment to increasing access to hearing healthcare.

AudiologyOnline: A common theme in these answers has been HearUSA’s commitment to expanding hearing care accessibility. Why do you feel so strongly about this topic?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: Despite leading the world in healthcare innovation and outcomes, the percentage of Americans treating their hearing loss remains low with estimates ranging between 20% and 30% in the US. A major reason for this situation is a lack of access to hearing care. So, as one of the country’s leading hearing care retailers, we feel a strong responsibility to bring our brand of Simply Excellent Hearing Care to as many clients as we can. An estimated 48 million Americans live with some form of hearing loss, but it doesn’t have to be this way. HearUSA has the tools and expertise required to help every client take control of their hearing health because nobody should have to live with hearing loss.

AudiologyOnline: HearUSA was honored last year as America’s Best Hearing Care Retailer by Newsweek and Statista. Why do you feel HearUSA was selected and what does it mean to the brand?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: The award is really a testament to our center teams across the country. They work tirelessly every day to provide the very best client care, empowering clients to take the first step on their hearing journey by providing recommendations based on their unique needs. It proves that what we’re doing is working. By helping clients experience sound through multiple leading brands, maximize their benefits and leave the center with their new hearing aids — all in the same day — we’re redefining the hearing care experience and changing lives every day.

AudiologyOnline: Can you provide us with a preview of what’s next for HearUSA in its pursuit to change one million more lives by 2028?

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD: For more than 35 years, we've been changing lives by helping people take charge of their hearing health and we have no plans of slowing down. We’ll continue to expand our center network and embrace the latest in hearing aid technology, while continuing to recruit the best audiology talent and fostering a high performing, collaborative, and empowering employee culture.

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gemma gray

Gemma Gray, MSc AuD

Gemma Gray is an audiologist and neuroscientist. She is the Sr. Director of Professional Development and Retail Expansion for HearUSA.

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