Interview with Kimberly S. Herman, President, ReSound
Carolyn Smaka: I’m delighted to talk today to Kim Herman about a new initiative at ReSound, the “Moments Movement.” Kim, how did this program come about?
Kim Herman: We wanted to create the opportunity for hearing healthcare professionals to share stories about the things that matter most to them about what they do. These are those small moments that really inspire them, and keep them going. It is the reason they get out of bed every morning and go to work. There are a lot of different dynamics happening out in the marketplace today, and we wanted to help hearing healthcare professionals reconnect with the core of why they do what they do, and to celebrate the profession overall. We feel like our role is to help provide professionals with the tools they need to then create those moments with their patients, so we have started what we call the Moments Movement.
We get so many testimonials in the form of patient letters and phone calls about how hearing or hearing assistance has changed lives. We highlight these stories internally in every monthly or quarterly meeting that we have here as a group in Bloomington. Out of that came this idea of having an opportunity for hearing healthcare professionals to share these moments, and to showcase and celebrate those moments in their communities.
Carolyn: It is so nice to hear you use the word celebrate, because it seems easy to get bogged down in the negative when you think about the dynamics in the marketplace today.
Kim: While the ReSound Moments movement was designed to celebrate hearing healthcare professionals, we also took the opportunity to have an internal “moments movement” within ReSound where we celebrate the people here who help our customers make those moments happen. It has actually been a two-fold kind of process. We have done a moment-maker project internally, where we highlighted our staff who engaged in activities that made an impact on someone’s life. For example, we had someone who helped get a hearing aid shipped out overnight for a veteran who needed it because he was being deployed the next day. Things like that that really help our customers serve their customers. There is an energy and excitement that is felt here, and people are reconnecting with the fact that “what I do every day does matter.” They are also excited by the moments coming in from hearing healthcare professionals, so it reinforces the concept and creates a kind of tunnel of energy that just keeps going.
It is so great for me to hear people at ReSound celebrating one another by saying, “That was a moment” or “What you did was a moment.” We didn’t anticipate that happening when we originally envisioned the Moments program, but it has taken off and we are clearly all very inspired by it.
Carolyn: Tell me about the Moments Maker grants.
Kim: A lot of hearing healthcare professionals are in situations where they would really like to do more to give back and to make moments for patients or the underserved, but they do not have the resources to do that. So we created a Moment Maker grant where hearing healthcare professionals can apply, and that grant can be utilized in a number of different of ways. Most of the grants that we have received are related to mission trips or serving an underprivileged population in their community that is near and dear to their heart. These grants enable professionals to make moments for patients who might not otherwise have been able to do so.
Carolyn: How do professionals get involved with the Moments program if they have not already, and how would they go about applying for a grant?
Kim: We have a Web site, www.resound.com/moments. There are a couple of different ways that people can get involved. We ask professionals to submit their moment on the Web site, and then we are sharing those moments with the hearing healthcare professional community. We have some videos of Featured Moments there as well. Regarding grants, the Giving Back section on the Web site has information on the grant program, along with an online application. We review those applications, and then fund grants that we feel can help that applicant make that moment they are trying to achieve.
Carolyn: You mentioned that you were inspired in part by the patient testimonials you received. Can patients submit moments?
Kim: Yes, patients can submit moments as well. You know, there is still a stigma around hearing loss and hearing aids, and we are trying to utilize this program as a way to help patients feel more comfortable when they are diagnosed with a hearing loss. We want to know what it means to them when they have worked with a professional who helps them to reconnect with their world.
Carolyn: When we try to convince consumers that they need to get help for their hearing problem, it can sound more like doctor-patient advice. This seems like a bottom-up approach instead.
Kim: Yes, and the technology is so incredible today that if you can work with a patient and get them comfortable to do something about their hearing loss, the chances are very high that they are going to be satisfied and happy with the results. Most people are ecstatic with the results that they achieve with hearing aids.
Carolyn: Which one of the moments is particularly meaningful to you?
Kim: You know, they are all special, but there is one that comes to mind about a child who was going through chemotherapy because of cancer. As part of that chemo treatment, this child developed a hearing loss. The patient’s mother was really upset about that and cried. Then the child came back and was fit with hearing aids. The most amazing thing to me was that the mother’s quote was something like, “With all of the things my child has lost to cancer, the hearing was the most tragic.” That says a lot about the impact of hearing loss on a patient and the isolation that it causes. This child had gone through so much, and the mom was saying that the hearing loss was the most tragic. That makes a statement about how important it is for people to be able to connect with those around them and their environment.
Carolyn: That moment really touched me as well, particularly after the child was fit with hearing aids, and the mother said, “Thank you for giving me my child back.”
Kim: I mentioned that we share these moments at our quarterly meetings at ReSound. Typically at these meetings we talk about our performance and our results, and then we highlight some of these patients’ stories. You get a whole room of people in tears over what we do. It really does matter. Everyone walks out of there feeling good.
Carolyn: These are the kind of moments that may otherwise come and go, in a busy day at the clinic.
Kim: That’s right. A lot of times these moments are not very public. They are small, very intimate moments to the patient and the audiologist. It is a one-on-one interaction. That is the other reason that we did this. We wanted to, in an appropriate way, highlight those intimate moments without coming across as self-serving, because it is certainly not about that. We wanted to elevate those experiences, so that people go “Oh yeah, that little thing that I take for granted- hearing the birds, or my children talking or a baby crying- other people may not be able to experience.” When patients get that back, it is a very personal thing. We wanted to make sure that we celebrate that. I am reminded that no one has eight hours of super-positive experiences every day, but this reminds professionals of the good stuff and why they got into the profession in the first place. I think it helps them to get through some of the more challenging times that are bound to happen, as well as to celebrate the good times.
We hope this Moments Movement will make being a professional in hearing healthcare rewarding on another level. Every time a patient's face lights up because they can hear again - that's a Moment.
Carolyn: I’ve really enjoyed reading the moments. I’m looking forward to seeing what other moments come in and what other stories will be told. Thanks for talking with me about it today.
Kim: Thanks, Carolyn. We are really inspired by the Moments Movement we appreciate the opportunity to talk with AudiologyOnline about it.