Based out of their state of the art facility in Warrington the Phonak Academy aims to provide hearing care professionals with consistent access to high quality learning opportunities.
As well as offering face to face training out of their head office and with partners throughout the UK – including the University College London (UCL), the Academy also aims to provide online training (via e-learn) to ensure time or geographical limitations do not pose a barrier to accessibility or quality of content.
The mission statement of the Phonak Academy is “To deliver continuous, timely and relevant education on the art and science of best practice hearing care provision.”
Commenting on why the Academy was created Graham Hilton, Head of Professional Services at Phonak UK said “we recognised that keeping up to date with best practise fitting techniques and new technology while also seeing patients is extremely difficult, so we made sure that whatever training we deliver could also be accessed online”.
Why do we need an Academy?
It is often said that the process of fitting hearing aids is as much of an art as it is a science.
The ability of a fitter to deliver the art component is primarily developed over time as they gain experience within the weird and wonderful world of hearing care provision by learning to identify and manage the diverse needs and expectations of those with hearing loss as no two people, even with identical hearing loss, are the same. This art is generally not something that can be learnt from a book, or bestowed upon a person by passing an exam, but relies on inherent people person skills and the ability to manage each patient as an individual to ensure an effective rapport and trust is developed between both parties.
The science aspect, however, is more tangible as it requires the trainee fitter to undertake a formal training process, in which they learn both the theory behind and practical skills required to perform a hearing assessment, identify the technology type best suited to a given individual and fit it effectively to ensure maximum benefit is provided. This process culminates in the dreaded exam process and, if successful, enables to now qualified Hearing Care Professional to fit hearing instruments and associated assistive listening devices.
The learning process, however, does not stop there as science (and wouldn’t it be a dull world if it did!) never stands still and there is always something new to learn as technology develops at an ever increasing pace. In recognition of this fact, and similar to the medical profession, Hearing Care Professionals often describe their service as a practice as there is always new knowledge to be gain and skills to be acquired. In effect, it is not possible to perfect your skills as just when you think you may have cracked it somebody comes along and moves the goalposts by introducing new technology or new research leads to changes in the fitting process so more practice is required and effectively never ends.
This inevitably requires reading yet another scientific paper and learning – enter stage left the Phonak Academy to satisfy this training requirement by identifying and hosting relevant educational events to ensure this need is fulfilled in a timely and efficient manner.
Why is this important?
At Phonak we passionately believe that our products are the best in the industry and it is our collective goal to ensure we manufacture and deliver the highest quality hearing solutions to the hearing impaired end user. We know our technology has the potential to change the lives of the hearing impaired end user; the Academy will ensure our customers remain up-to-date with their fitting skills to ensure this goal is consistently achieved – effectively turning mirrors into windows through the acquisition of knowledge!