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The Listening Room: teamwork makes the dream work

Sonova is continuously leveraging synergies across all its business brands. Most recently, Advanced Bionics and Phonak relaunched The Listening Room, a dynamic online rehabilitation portal that supports users’ advance listening or language skills through exercises that help discriminate sounds and maximize auditory learning.

In March 2015, teams from Sonova’s brands Advanced Bionics and Phonak came together to offer those with hearing loss an upgraded, dynamic online resource with simple-to-use activities to support auditory training and rehabilitation: The Listening Room

The Listening Room was originally developed by Advanced Bionics for cochlear implant users and has now been brought to the next level based on input from Phonak, who wanted it to reach hearing aid wearers as well. Designed by certified auditory verbal therapists and speech and language pathologists, the website is free, accessible through registration and allows users to explore more than 30 lessons created specifically for all age groups. 

Valeri LeBeau, Speech Language Pathologist and Consumer Education & Rehab Manager at Advanced Bionics is a big fan of The Listening Room. “Teaching children with hearing loss to listen and speak is an important job for a therapist but it can't be done alone. Parents are an important part of the team,” she explains.  “The Listening Room is my favorite one-stop shopping therapy tool because it’s high on the fun factor – which makes my therapy planning easy! My favorite thing about The Listening Room is the ability to create the activity during a therapy session and send it home with the family to continue the goals we set together.“

Synergies support customer-focused strategy

The Listening Room is just the latest example of how the Sonova Group is successfully implementing its customer-driven strategy for its cochlear implant and hearing aid businesses.

For example, in 2013, Advanced Bionics and Phonak jointly introduced the Naída CI Q70, the most advanced behind-the-ear sound processer in the world. Their successful collaboration underscores the combined strength of the research and development teams of both brands. That same year Advanced Bionics teamed up with AudioNova’s global network of hearing care providers with the goal of educating hearing aid wearers around the world about cochlear implants as the next solution beyond hearing aids.

The idea of The Listening Room was sparked nearly 10 years ago. “The portal reflects our commitment to the rehabilitation of children and adults,” Martin Walther, Vice President Global Marketing at Advanced Bionics says. “When we recently decided to upgrade the technical platform, we were excited to have Phonak on board as a partner. Their in-depth knowledge of hearing aids and wireless communication solutions for audiological applications not only broadens the audience for the platform, but also increases the number of people we can help on their journey to hearing.”

Angela Pelosi, Head of Pediatrics at Phonak, agrees. “We were keen to co-brand the new site with them, as it’s an impressive resource that will now also reach hearing aid users. This was a perfect fit with our unit’s recent strategic decision to shift from a product-based approach to a proactive, solution-based approach, that includes more support and rehabilitation tools for children and their families.” Whether The Listening Room users have cochlear implants or hearing aids, the online lessons and downloadable materials help to develop listening and language skills through exercises that help them discriminate sounds and maximize their listening skills. Parents can conduct lessons at home with their children, not just with a therapist. This is crucial for kids of all ages who need to strengthen their language foundation and it helps guide their learning through practice.

Members can also invite their therapy providers to access their account to monitor their progress online. 

Some of the exercises utilize audio and video technology to enhance learning. This fun exercise brings you to the International Space Station!

30,000 registered users and counting

The new site offers an enriched user experience based on recent advancements in web technology. Today, it boasts around 30,000 registered users. Just over 50% of users are involved in pediatric rehabilitation – either as parents of a child with hearing loss, or health care professionals. The remaining users are typically adult recipients using the site.

It is also intended as a multi-lingual site: the team plans to add Spanish and Dutch materials this year, with more languages to follow shortly. “The technology we utilized for the new site is very flexible and forward-looking,” adds Brent Smart, Senior Web Manager at Advanced Bionics. “We have the potential for multiple-language versions and the ability to communicate with other platforms down the road. By doing so, not only can we further improve our users’ rehabilitation resources, we can greatly improve their experience along the way.”

Sharing best practices

According to The Listening Room team, the close cooperation on both sides was seamless. Tim Ringger, Online Marketing Manager from Phonak’s pediatric team, notes: “The working group at Advanced Bionics was very receptive to our input and with both teams sharing best practices, we were able to bring the existing platform to the next level. In fact, we are already discussing synergies in new areas. Everyone is really excited about the potential we have to develop great things together!”

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