What is person-centered care for people with hearing loss?


Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
Last updated 2020-04-13T00:00:00-05:00

Advanced medical technology can be lifesaving, yet one of the most successful techniques for achieving good outcomes is simple—good old-fashioned respect and communication.

Person-centered hearing care, a man and wife at a hearing aid clinic appointment
In person-centered care, a patient is

encouraged to bring their spouse with them.

The technique, known as person-centered care, is a practice promoted by the Ida Institute, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 and dedicated to the goal of bringing person-centered care to hearing healthcare.

About person-centered hearing care

Person-centered care (PPC) in hearing health ensures that people are equal and active partners in the management of their hearing difficulties, explains Lise Lotte Bundesen, managing director for the Ida Institute. PPC focuses on the patient’s needs and preferences by involving family and other communication partners to make decisions and set goals. 

“In person-centered care, the relationship between the professional and the patient is considered a partnership,” Bundesen said, “where the professional listens to the patient’s perspective and the patient participates actively in defining the objectives and goal-setting for their treatment. This leads to a higher degree of patient motivation and better clinical outcomes.”

How person-centered care differs from traditional methods

In traditional healthcare methods, the professional acts as the expert who tells the patient what to do. And, while the patient is expected to understand and follow the professional’s recommendations, Bundesen says “in reality this is not always what happens.”

Conversely, an audiologist who practices person-centered care works with the patient to identify individual needs and preferences. This includes: 

  • Inviting communicating partners to participate in the appointment, such as a spouse
  • Asking questions and listening actively to the answers
  • Offering treatment recommendations as well as information and communication strategies adapted to the patient’s individual needs.

Why PPC is important

Person-centered care leads to a higher degree of adherence to treatment recommendations and greater satisfaction, according to research conducted by the HEARing Cooperative Research Center in Australia. Results of the study indicated that “69% of patients prefer a patient-centered interaction with their medical practitioner, whereas interactions that are non-patient-centered have the lowest rates of satisfaction.”

Bundesen said benefits for professionals who practice PPC include:

  • More efficient appointments
  • A higher degree of adherence to treatment recommendations
  • Greater patient satisfaction

How to find a PPC hearing healthcare professional

The Ida Institute has launched the Inspired by Ida label, a benchmark of quality that “demonstrates dedication to high-quality, person-centered care.” To obtain the label, clinicians must complete two online courses in person-centered methods and sign a code of ethics underscoring their commitment to PPC. Qualified clinics with listings in the Healthy Hearing directory display an Ida badge.

The Ida Institute offers tools for consumers as well.

“We recommend people to prepare for appointments and think about their needs beforehand,” Bundesen said. “To this effect, we have developed Ida Telecare—a suite of tools that people can use to prepare for appointments from the comfort of their home.”


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