2010 BHSM Kit
Dear Hearing Health Professional:
With America focused on health care as never before, it’s time that hearing health be more fully integrated into the larger health care system and recognized by health care gatekeepers as a vital component to an individual’s overall wellbeing and quality of life.
The theme for this year’s Better Hearing and Speech Month is Hearing Health in Today’s Health Care System; and the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is launching a national effort to urge physicians and nurse practitioners across the country to include hearing health assessments as a routine part of their patients’ physical exams.
BHI is sending letters about the importance of hearing health to the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The letters ask the organizations to urge their members to include hearing examinations as a routine part of physical exams.
BHI also is promoting its online hearing test (www.hearingcheck.org) where individuals can quickly and confidentially assess if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional. BHI is urging individuals to share this information with their health care professional and ask that it be included in their electronic medical record.
According to MarkeTrak VIII, fewer than 15 percent of those who received a physical exam in the last year said they received a hearing screening by their physician or nurse during that exam, despite the fact that more than 95 percent of those with hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids.
For Better Hearing and Speech Month, BHI is inviting all hearing health professionals nationwide to advocate for “Hearing Health in Today’s Health Care System." We are excited to offer you this turnkey press kit to help generate media coverage for your practice and for Better Hearing and Speech Month in your local area.
By participating in this outreach effort, you will be supporting your own practice while raising awareness of the importance of hearing health in today’s health care system. Importantly, you will be opening the gates for many to receive the hearing health care they need to improve their quality of life.
Please join BHI and other hearing health professionals as we advocate for Hearing Health in Today’s Health Care System.
BHI has developed everything you'll need to quickly and effectively generate media interest that we hope will not only result in increased awareness of the importance of hearing health in today’s health care system, but that also will increase patient appointments and physician referrals to your practice.
Attached are media materials we developed for you to tailor and send to local print, radio, and TV reporters in your area. You can send them to health and lifestyle reporters by e-mail and/or mail.
To make your media list, just call the local newspapers, radio and TV stations and ask for the name, address, and e-mail address for their health and lifestyle reporters.
If you e-mail the press materials, you can put in your subject line: "Better Hearing and Speech Month/Hearing Health in Today’s Health Care System." Send the first four items listed below as part of the email. All you need to do is open each of the documents, copy them, and paste them into the body of your email. If you mail them, print the press release on your letterhead.
Customizable Press Release
A press release is written to provide reporters with newsworthy information. Simply fill in the blanks with your own information, and it's ready to go.
Backgrounder on Hearing Health
While the press release focuses on the most newsworthy aspects of your story, reporters are not experts on hearing health. The purpose of this backgrounder is to help put the importance of hearing health in context and to help reporters understand that hearing loss affects virtually every aspect of a person's life.
Fact sheet on Hearing Health in Today’s Health Care System
This brief fact sheet gives information on the latest statistics on the incidence of hearing loss in the United States, statistics on how often hearing screenings are included in by physicians in their physical exams of their patients, and statistics on the use of hearing aids.
News Feature Article: Integrating Hearing Health into Today’s Health Care System
You can distribute this article to patients and reporters. We urge you to take a copy of this article to your local editor, and ask them to run it. You are permitted to use this BHI developed article to promote your practice and advocate for hearing health in today’s health care system.
Consumer Brochure with Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Loss
This consumer brochure is a “Call to Action” for people to address their hearing loss. It answers basic questions about hearing loss and gives people the information they need to take the first steps in addressing their hearing health. This brochure is appropriate for handing out in physician offices, pharmacies, chiropractor offices and health fairs. They are available for ordering at BHI in packages of 100.
Key Messages and Interviews with Reporters
We developed a set of key messages to help you shape positive media stories and respond to reporters' questions. Do not send this to reporters-just read the information to reporters during calls, and remember that these are key points you'll want to make throughout your conversation. You'll want to repeat these messages at least twice during the conversation to help ensure that they are picked up by the reporter.
We suggest you review these messages prior to talking with reporters and think of situations in your own practice that can help substantiate and personalize these points. Remember: You can always call a reporter back if there are questions that you cannot answer during the initial interview-or if you feel there is further information or clarification you wish to offer later.
You also may wish to suggest that reporters interview patients of yours who have had success with hearing aids and who may have stories to share. (Be sure, however, to talk with your patient in advance and to get their permission to pass on their name and phone number.)
BHI Screening Audiogram Form
This colorful screening audiogram form can be downloaded and printed locally back-to-back for those 5 minute hearing screenings you conduct at local health fairs, senior centers, physician offices, or in your practice. The front page presents the traditional audiogram in an attractive format; while the back documents relevant facts on hearing loss and quality of life based on BHI and NCOA research.
BHI Quick Hearing Check
Your goal is to get thousands of local people to check their hearing without necessarily coming into your office; we view the screener as a motivating precursor to a full screening. You may print off our quick hearing check or order pads of the hearing check from BHI. Distribute these hearing checks to physician offices, senior centers, intermediate care facilities, drug stores, chiropractor offices, etc. Or simply distribute your business card and refer them to www.hearingcheck.org with a simple message on the back such as "Check your hearing at www.hearingcheck.org."
Let Us Hear From You
We've prepared these materials to help you raise awareness of Better Hearing and Speech Month and the importance of hearing health in today’s health care system—while spotlighting your practice within your local community. Please let us know what you think and how it goes. We welcome your suggestions and will post the best stories you generate on the Better Hearing Institute website. Good luck. And thank you for being part of this important outreach effort.
Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D.
Better Hearing Institute