- Published on 30 September 2021
Big Audiology they might have called it, but thankfully didn't. Yet Swiss audiology giant Sonova has announced a shift to a more holistic approach to embrace the different medical needs that coexist with hearing loss.
The announcement from the parent company of brands such as Phonak means a widening of training for HCPs, expanded therapy approaches for patients, a biotech team-up, awareness efforts, and more, as the portfolio of its range of Audiological Care services grows to encompass hearing-related risk factors, and the psychosocial, socioemotional, and physical adjuvants of ageing.
Armed with the relevant evidence from a number of recent studies, Sonova's broader scope will include a direct approach to the patient to offer auditory-cognitive training (ACT), a combination of exercises that train cognitive skills such as focused attention, divided attention, auditory perception, phonological short-term memory, and working memory. ACT will be available to patients in more than forty locations in Austria, Canada and the Netherlands from October 2021. Accessible on private mobile devices, the digital training suite will offer a gamified experience to the users, designed to improve cognitive skills.
Already, the group has implemented a specific two-stage tinnitus education program for Sonova’s hearing care professionals (HCPs). In several group companies in the Audiological Care business, all HCPs are being trained on basic tinnitus care, while some HCPs in Sonova medical hubs are receiving comprehensive training to become proficient in advanced tinnitus counseling methods.
Sonova Audiological Care recently developed a holistic tinnitus management approach. The fact that tinnitus affects 10-15% of the adult population will not have been lost in the thinking on how to boost hearing aid adoption; about 80-90% of tinnitus patients have some form of hearing loss that requires clinical intervention, the group points out.
Fall risk assessment and mitigation
Another key ageing factor that makes good sense of this more holistic approach is supported by research showing that hearing loss results in up to a three times higher fall risk. Sonova Audiological Care aims to "raise awareness, provide counseling on common risk factors (including hearing impairment), and inform on preventive strategies such as functional screening, regular physical activity and multimodal exercising as successful ways for supporting healthy aging and reducing the risk of falls". This also means offering fall risk assessments to educate patients—with personalised recommendations—on their specific risk factor for falls.
Expansion through partnerships
To enter into the diagnosis area of osteoporosis—identified as a potential significant risk factor for hearing loss—Sonova Audiological Care has struck an innovative deal with leading biotechnology firm Amgen. For more information, click here.
Osteoporosis roadshow in France
A three-city roadshow (Paris, Marseille and Lille) will see Sonova’s Audiological Care brand in France join Amgen France over the weeks leading up to World Osteoporosis Day (October 20) in an effort to increase awareness about this condition, fracture risks and healthy aging.
Christophe Fond, Group Vice President Audiological Care at Sonova, commented: “Mounting evidence shows us that unmanaged hearing loss can have significant impact on a person’s quality of life, affecting psychosocial, socioemotional, and physical factors. Due to the fact that hearing loss is associated with additional risk factors and co-existing conditions, hearing loss should be treated in the context of other medical needs. By taking a holistic view and expanding our services, we will meet the needs of more patients, serving as their partner in healthy aging.”