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Trade Talk: A Q&A with Pamela Burton, AuD

doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000508369.19665.10
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Dr. Burton is vice president of Product Management & Customer Care for Signia. She is responsible for successfully bringing Signia product innovations to the market while ensuring Customer Care consistently delivers world class customer service. Dr. Burton began her career as a clinical dispensing audiologist and earned her AuD from Central Michigan University.

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Q Being in a highly competitive industry, what sets Signia apart?

Dr. Burton: Signia is unique in the industry because we're a modern brand that is emotional and engaging on a human level, while preserving core values and technical expertise inherited from Siemens. This allows us to appeal to a younger and broader demographic while maintaining our history for technological innovation and quality. Signia's brand values are forward-thinking, customer-centered, and quality-driven. And we continuously work to put them into practice every day.

Forward thinking

For nearly 140 years, we've prided ourselves on being an industry pioneer and trendsetter. A recent example is Cellion primax, the world's first lithium-ion inductive rechargeable hearing aid. Cellion is our answer to marketplace demands for an environmentally friendly, hassle-free rechargeable solution that does not compromise performance. It gives wearers more than 24 hours of use on a single charge, including unlimited streaming.

Customer centered

Over the last five years, we've made tremendous strides in creating a service-driven culture, and we are proud to be recognized as the industry's top customer service provider. A third-party survey among independent U.S. hearing care professionals ranked Signia as the top provider in the areas of sales and service, with strengths including transactional ease, technical support, and quality of marketing material.

Quality driven

Signia is proud to continue our legacy of quality design and engineering with the industry's most robust and durable line of BTEs and RICs. Our automated manufacturing process applies special nanocoating to all circuitry consistently and uniformly to make our instruments resistant to moisture, sweat and dirt. As a result, repairs have decreased by 50 percent in the past few years.

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Q What are your primary goals and considerations in designing and innovating products? How do you stay up-to-date?

Dr. Burton: Our brand values are our guiding forces in developing innovative products and solutions. As a manufacturer, we continually strive to develop technology that keeps up with today's active hearing aid wearers while providing our valued customers with the tools they need to grow their practice. But it's not enough to simply keep up—manufacturers must also blaze a trail.

Signia TeleCare™ is one example of how we've put our brand values to use in shaping the future of the hearing aid industry. TeleCare consists of the myHearing app that patients download via their smartphone, and a cloud-based professional portal that hearing care professionals (HCPs) use via any internet browser. Once the patient downloads the myHearing app and the HCP logs into the portal, they are connected and can exchange information via end-to-end encryption.

The app features auditory training exercises that help maintain patient motivation and facilitate acclimatization to the new hearing aids. Structured wearer feedback on individual listening situations and their ratings on various listening experiences are immediately visible to the HCP. Eventually, patients will be able to contact their HCP to have questions and concerns addressed via real-time text, voice, and video call capabilities, and professionals will have the ability to conduct remote fine-tunings and adjustments.

Market research is another important consideration for future product development. For example, MarkeTrak 9 showed that 27 percent of patients who were recommended hearing aids chose not to keep them after the trial period. Yet for those who ultimately did purchase hearing aids, the second and fourth most commonly cited reasons were, “Trusted the hearing care professional” and “The trial clearly showed hearing aids could improve hearing,” respectively. This data demonstrates how the trial period can be a “blind spot” in the industry. During this critical make-or-break time period, HCPs need a solution to stay better engaged with new patients while wearers are looking for continuous professional guidance and support. With this in mind, Signia is pleased to offer technology that helps remove the boundaries toward hearing aid acceptance, while creating a new service platform to bring patients and HCPs closer together.

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