The HearingTracker Hearing Health LINK Project

You can make a difference.

Link Project

As a person with hearing loss, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of frustrations with the hearing healthcare system. From finding a provider you can trust to dealing with the costs of appointments and hardware, there are many obstacles to getting the help that you need.

And maybe you’ve been avoiding taking the next step. Maybe you know you have a hearing loss, but have yet to try or purchase a hearing aid. If so, you’re not alone. Did you know that only 20% of those who need hearing aids actually get them? Millions of Americans—just like you—know they have a problem, and yet they do nothing. And for those that do seek help, most wait an average of seven years before seeking treatment.

Whether you’re a person who has experience with the hearing healthcare system, or you’re one of the many waiting on the sidelines to make your next move, we want to hear from you. As an industry, we have so much to learn from those who have first hand experiences with hearing loss. We want to learn from you, and we want to make the system serve you better.

The HearingTracker LINK project is a new initiative that aims to learn from the personal journeys of people with hearing loss–people like yourself–who have experienced the trials and tribulations of hearing loss firsthand.

If you choose to participate in the LINK project, your experiences will help to shape the future of the hearing healthcare industry – from how we communicate with people with hearing loss, to the manner in which services are delivered in clinics and online, to the types of products that will be developed and distributed.

Your voice could help millions of Americans take the next step to receiving help, and could help them have a better experience, and a better hearing outcome, once they do. Please consider joining the HearingTracker LINK project today, and sharing your valuable experiences with our team of industry-leading academic researchers and audiologists.

Join the world’s first long-term hearing aid panel study

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone over 18 years who wears hearing aids or notices hearing problems can join the study. You must reside in the USA.

If you decide to join the LINK project, you will first complete an informed consent form. We will then ask you to provide information about your general health and hearing problems through a short questionnaire. You will be sent a short survey to complete four times per year, and one longer annual survey. Joining the LINK project is your own choice. You may withdraw from the project at any time.

The insights you provide will shape the future of the hearing care industry. Your experiences and opinions will make a difference. Completing questionnaires may also provide an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties that you are facing on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, you will be provided with a comprehensive newsletter that will provide valuable information to help you on your journey with hearing loss. You will also be given the opportunity to connect with your peers (others who are participating in the project), and learn from the insights provided by other participants.

Your information will be stored in a secured platform via Qualtrics, which is a HIPAA compliant research database. We respect your privacy and will treat the data with the utmost confidentiality. Only de-identified information without personally identifiable information will be downloaded, analyzed, and shared (with other researchers through open aggregate data repositories). All study results will be presented as aggregate group results and no single participant details will be revealed.

  • Individuals with hearing problems: You can join our community of research panelists to share your experiences with your hearing loss journey. Shape the future of hearing healthcare and hearing aids by sharing your journey. Gain customized insights about your hearing problems.
  • Hearing healthcare professionals: You can support this initiative by encouraging your patients to join our community. You can also provide input to the survey by letting us know what information about hearing aid users you find relevant in your practice.
  • Researchers: You can provide input to the study design and survey questions. You can also collaborate with us to help analyze the data generated from this initiative.
  • Representatives of the hearing instrument industry: You can provide input to the survey by letting us know what information about hearing aid users you find relevant when designing future hearing aids and the future hearing healthcare journey.
  • Charity: You can share the word about this project with your membership and encourage people to participate in this initiative. You can also provide input to survey questions.
  • Policy makers: You can provide input to the study design and survey questions by letting us know what evidence is necessary for future policy making in this area.

Who is leading this project?

This project is a HearingTracker initiative. Abram Bailey (CEO of Hearing Tracker), Vinaya Manchaiah (Professor of Audiology at University of Colorado), and Martin Riedi (CEO at CapVal) are the lead contributors. Primary researchers include:

Dr. Vinaya Manchaiah, AuD, MBA, PhD

Dr. Vinaya Manchaiah, AuD, MBA, PhD serves as the Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and as the Director of Audiology at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCHealth). He is the Principal Investigator at the Virtual Hearing Lab. He also has a position as an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and an Adjunct Professor at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India. He has authored over 200 scientific manuscripts and 5 textbooks.

Erin Picou, AuD, PhD

Erin Picou, AuD, PhD, is an associate professor at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences in Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She currently directs the Hearing and Affect Perception Interest (HAPI) laboratory, which is funded through a variety of industry and federal funding sources. Her research interests are primarily related to hearing aid technologies for adults and children, with a specific focus on speech recognition, listening effort, and emotional responses to sound. Erin is currently serving as editor-in-chief for the American Journal of Audiology and as section editor for Ear and Hearing. In addition to her research activities, Erin is involved with teaching and mentoring AuD and PhD students at Vanderbilt.

Dr De Wet Swanepoel, Ph.D.

Dr De Wet Swanepoel, Ph.D. is Professor of Audiology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and adjunct professor in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine. His research capitalises on digital technologies to explore, develop and evaluate innovative solutions and service-delivery models for access to ear and hearing care. Dr Swanepoel has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters and his research is funded by the NIH, UK Academy of Medical Sciences and industry. He is Editor-In-Chief of the International Journal of Audiology, and founder of a digital health company called the hearX group.

Abram Bailey, AuD

Dr. Bailey is a leading expert on consumer technology in the audiology industry. He is a staunch advocate for patient-centered hearing care and audiological best practices, and welcomes any technological innovation that improves access to quality hearing outcomes. Dr. Bailey holds an Au.D. from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is the founder and CEO of Hearing Tracker, Inc.

Academic Partners

Virtual hearing Lab

University of Colorado

University of Pretoria

The term LINK represents the connection that is formed between those with hearing loss, the hearing healthcare industry, and the academic community that studies hearing loss and hearing healthcare. Our aim is to bring together all the stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcome for people with hearing loss.