Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy, and this is Ask The Hearing Doctors. And I'm joined today by Dr. Ana Anzola, doctor of audiology with Hearing Doctors. The Washington DC area's highest-rated audiology practice with over 1500, five-star reviews. Also joining us today, Dr. Robin Carson, who is a doctor of audiology and creator of HearVu. Ana, Robin, great to see you both. Thank you. Um, before we learn about HearVu, tell us a little bit about your back ground.
Sure. I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I've been an audiologist for 25 years. I opened my own practice eight years ago in Fort Worth, primarily working with the adult population. And have a huge passion for the patient journey and creating experiences in our practice that are second to none.
Now let's talk about HearVu. What is it? What was the motivation behind creating HearVu?
Sure. Um, for all those years, I always felt like we did a lousy job explaining the results of all the testing we put so much energy and effort into, um, building with our patients on a, on a daily basis. And so I wanted to build a tool that allowed for patients to connect with the audiogram, to make audiology more fun to talk about, and to really infuse compassion and empathy into our patient appointments. And so HearVu was born about four years ago, out of the love for really teaching the audiogram and giving patients and their families are really great explanation of all the results that we gather.
I want to throw this question out kind of, to both of you. Um, what, what led you to think that there was, or there is a lack of clarity in the industry in terms of explaining an audiogram?
Sure. So to audiologists, it makes perfect sense to us. What does it really mean? You know, the circles and the X's, the right ear, the left ear. But to the patients or the family members, it's very difficult to put it all into words. You know, you're hearing this, but you're not hearing that. And so now we have an amazing tool that patients love. And I think it's more, much more impactful to the family members when they come in to, for the first time, they actually get to hear what it is that they have been missing. For the first time they feel, you know, this tremendous, wow, I can't believe I've been mean to you, or I had no idea how much you were missing. And so they put it all together and they, they, you know, move on with, um, action in, in, let's do something about this. This is really important. Now I really truly understand it.
Is this in a sense, being able to see your, your hearing loss or your deficiencies?
Yeah. I mean, you see it, you feel it, you interact, it comes on an iPad. And you can really demonstrate what the graph really means. And I'm sure, you know, you have patients that come in and say, okay, now I have clarity. I really see what you mean, but oh, I'm missing these frequencies and this sounds, and so they come out of it, you know, really empowered.
And Robin talk about the experiences for those patients. What is it? You're kind of a before and after, you know, pre HearVu - post HearVu. All of a sudden, wow, I'm looking at this and the family members too, in a lot different way.
Well, I think we take a very confusing audiogram with X's and O's and, and high frequencies and low frequencies. And then we make it more confusing by highlighting, drawing, circling things. And so we take an already confusing graph and make it more confusing. And I think we can somehow dismiss a paper audiogram, especially if it's not understood and not do anything about it. So just being able to connect with patients in a way that for the first time they're leaning over and saying, I had no idea that that's how you were hearing me. And there is that, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry that I haven't been patient. And so creating that empathy into those appointments really gets everybody on the same page and allows for people to move forward and to take ownership for their treatment.
Let's talk about the motivation, because that's kind of where it starts, before somebody even comes in to see an audiologist. Um, family members they don't want to push too hard, don't want to push too hard. The person itself is in denial, does this task and the way that it can now be visualized, does that help the motivation process for somebody at least once they've gotten into that first step?
So, yeah, I mean, so once I put like headphones, or you can have it on speaker and realize, wow, this is what you're hearing, but this is the way you should be hearing. Everybody gets on the same page right away. Whether you have been in denial or not. Um, now the family really pushing for it. Yes. Do something about it. And then the patient's like, yes, I want to do something about it for me. Um, not for somebody else.
Now you can hear grandma or, or the other way around now, grandma can hear the grandkids and that kind of thing.
And I think HearVu has several different screens or components that are used very differently by each provider that has HearVu. Uh, but the real meat and potatoes is the, uh, interactive audiogram and the opportunity to simulate that patient's hearing loss creates that understanding and really does get people moving towards a solution and saying, okay, now I understand.
Now, for the audiences benefit, let's talk about the process. Can you walk us through kind of the process and the, and some of the features of HearVu?
Sure. Yeah. Uh, you know, we come out of the booth after doing our hearing testing, and what I've seen is across the country, we all use very similar protocols with how we gather information. But there was such a disconnect with how we then give that information back to the patients. And it was all over the map from count the dot audiograms to I don't even explain the audiogram and everything in between. And so when we come out of the booth now with our paper audiogram, we put it on HearVu when we plot that audiogram with the patient, giving them the education on their hearing loss. And they're actually watching us transfer data and watching the audiogram fall in areas outside of normal. And so we reconnect them with the sounds that they heard in the booth, we're able to overlay the communication zone or the speech banana. So those patients can also now see what sounds of speech or outside of their range of audibility. And then again, that simulation, I'm saying, this is, this is this the frequencies you're missing. This is the speech sounds that you're missing. And this is what it sounds like for you or for your loved one. And so it just really does connect the dots and, um, bring great clarity to an otherwise confusing audiogram.
You have students that come through, new audiologists that come through, how has HearVu helped them in their process? In, in, in, in, in getting started in the world of audiology.
Now they get comfortable with the explanation of something like we talked about it. It's very confusing. You're not really sure. You don't have the confidence. Um, maybe I'm not a doctor yet, that sort of thing. Oh, I'm just getting myself started. So now you have a great tool that takes all that away. It's very simple to read. Very visual. Um, you can interact with it. You can move things around, but it's what you were saying earlier, laying it out there and saying, okay, this is, this is very simple. This is where you can hear this are the frequencies or zones that you're not able to understand, and this is what we can do about it. And that's it. It's a very simple, um, amazing tool. We love it every day. So thank you.
That makes me so happy.
And it seems to me that this is a practice differentiator. I would imagine that you set yourself apart by offering this type of, of, of technology to, to your patients.
You know when we, we, the first concept of HearVu, it was really just being created for my practice to do just that. Along two miles of area in Fort worth, Texas, there's six of us, six competitors, five competitors, including us. And so really being able to do something remarkably different in your community. And more patients were coming in and saying, I have never been explained the results of this test in this manner. And they may have been tested 15 or 20 times in their life, but they never understood. And so when I started getting feedback from patients and family and realizing that this was a tool and an opportunity that every patient should understand the results of this crazy test. And so that's when we thought, let's see if we can really figure out how to get this out into the hands of audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. So people have an opportunity to do the best job that they can to improve the patient journey.
I already know the hearing loss that I have hearing loss. Now, I understand why, where, what it, what it's all about is that that's what it comes down to?
And that's what it comes down to. But it's just the clarity, putting it all out there. And then just making the transition of knowing your scores, knowing what's happening. I can now understand it. So you're empowering the patients, the family members to really just move forward and with such an easy transition of that, you know, process and not complicating things.
Okay. And before we let you go any great new things coming on the horizon with HearVu? Obviously technology's changing all the time.
Yeah. You know, I have three teenagers. And so, like I say, HearVu is my fourth child and it's this living, breathing thing that's always has. I'm big on continuous improvement in myself and my practice and with the people that I work with. How do we make this a stronger, better tool? And it's from getting feedback from people out in the field that are using it successfully. And so we are working on the Spanish version of HearVu, which I think is going to be a huge, very impactful. Already a difficult population of people for me to communicate with. How do we make that easier? So I'm expecting that in the next month or two. Um, and we also have some other stuff in the works to make this a stronger, better tool. Um, that's even more impactful for our patients and their families.
Robin, I mean, it's thank you for stopping in and, and teaching us a little bit about HearVu. Ana, as always great to see you.
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