Diving Deep Into The Ida Institute

Harvey Abrams, PhD

by Harvey Abrams, PhD

A recent post  in this section referenced the Ida Institute in an appeal to have us refocus our efforts on the patient rather than on the technology.  The post provided an excellent overview of Ida, its mission (to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics associated with hearing loss) and its activities.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to take a deeper dive into the activities of the Ida Institute and how their impressive array of tools might be just the medicine we, as hearing healthcare providers, need to differentiate ourselves and the services we provide in a disruptive and ever-changing healthcare landscape.  


The Oft Overlooked Rehabilitation Component


I’ve been privileged to part of the Ida Institute  since its beginnings in 2008 and have contributed to planning and contributing to their seminars and toolbox development. If you’ve been following my posts for the last several years, you know how important I consider the rehabilitative component of audiology care to be as an essential adjunct to the technology we provide to our patients. The goal of the Ida Institute (which resonates with this rehabilitative focus) is to positively impact hearing impaired persons and hearing care professionals around the world by making person-centered care the core of hearing care practice.

While most audiologists appreciate the value of patient-centered care and the importance of the rehabilitation component, few provide much more than a brief discussion of the expectations associated with the technology they deliver to their patients. Fewer provide information about computer-based auditory training programs and even fewer (“We few, we happy few”) provide ongoing individual or group rehabilitation programs. Reasons given for not providing post-fitting rehabilitation services include the lack of time, resources, and comfort/confidence with the delivery of these services.

Well, I’ve got great news for those of you who want to provide a true patient-centered model of hearing health care – Ida has done all the heavy lifting and you have access to an impressive armamentarium of information and resources, free of charge.


Ida to the Rescue


What follows is a brief description of the resources that the Ida Institute has developed. They are yours for the taking – you just need to register (no charge) here

The Seminars: These 2 to 3 day educational and highly interactive workshops are designed to allow the participants to collaborate, explore and develop new knowledge and tools associated with important aspects of hearing loss. Ida provides stipends to the participants to cover most of the costs associated with attending the workshops in Skodsborg, Denmark. To date, seminars have explored the following topics:

  • Defining hearing
  • Communication Partnerships
  • Motivational Engagement
  • Cochlear Implant Journey
  • Living Well with Hearing Loss
  • Managing Change

These workshops often result in the development of practical tools that become available to persons with hearing loss, their communication partners, educators and the professional community at no cost. The Toolbox developed by Ida and collaborators include:

  • Motivational Engagement – The “Line, Box, and Circle” tools are designed to assist the patient, with the healthcare professional serving as facilitator, to thoughtfully reflect on the benefits and barriers to taking action improve their communication performance as a prelude to moving forward on their journey.
  • Communication Partners – Based on the understanding that hearing loss impacts not only the individual with the hearing loss but also the people who serve as his or her primary communication partner, these tools are designed to integrate the communication partner into the discussion leading to identifying the goals and strategies for improving communication performance.
  • Living Well with Hearing Loss – These tools are designed to help the patient and communication partner identify the most critical needs created by the hearing loss leading to a more focused and patient-centered plan of treatment.
  • My World Pediatric Tool – Ida has attempted to extend its reach beyond adults with hearing loss. The pediatric tool is designed to facilitate a conversation between the child and provider leading to a more trusting relationship and better understanding of the specific needs of the child with hearing loss and a more appropriate treatment strategy.
  • Group AR Guide – Many audiologists are reluctant to initiate group AR in their practices because of lack of information and resources. The Ida Group AR Guide provides an impressive toolbox of resources from preparation, planning and publicizing to specific content, strategies and resources required to conduct a comprehensive 8-session program covering topics on communication strategies, speechreading, assistive technology and patient advocacy, speechreading and community resources.
  • Tinnitus Management – A tool designed to improve the counseling skills of clinicians dealing with patients with disturbing tinnitus through delivering a holistic approach to tinnitus management.
  • Transitions Management – These tools designed for children and young adults, as well as their parents, school teachers and hearing care providers, contain valuable information, resources, and strategies associated with negotiating the changes facing the lives of children and young adults with hearing loss.
  • Telecare – An online platform that provides persons with hearing loss tools and resources that help to extend hearing care services beyond the clinic environment to include preparation for their first appointment, preparation for follow-up appointments, and issues associated with everyday experiences living with hearing loss.
  • Telecare for Teens and Tweens – Telecare resources designed specifically for preadolescents and adolescents.
  • Balance – A tool designed to improve awareness of BBPV among patients and providers leading to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment.
  • My Turn to Talk – A tool designed for parents of children with profound hearing loss facing cochlear implantation. The tool helps parents prepare for their first appointment with the CI team by providing them with the means to articulate their fears, needs and concerns prior to meeting with the team.


A Veritable Treasure Trove


In addition to the tools described above, Ida has developed additional resources designed to improve professional skills including Time and Talk, Change Guide, E-Learning Lab, Self-Development in the Clinic, and a Video Library containing a collection of fascinating and compelling ethnographic and clinic films. There are also tools for educators including material on the basics of patient-centered care, a clinical supervisor kit, and a comprehensive curriculum for a university course designed to educate students on the human dynamics of hearing loss.

The Ida Institute has developed a centralized treasure trove of resources for the professional, parent, educator, person with hearing loss and communication partner. If you think that hearing care is more than technology, here is the place to begin your own professional journey toward a more patient-centered approach to improving the quality of life of persons with hearing loss.

For a more detailed description of the tools and resources described in this post, including downloadable materials and videos, please visit the Ida Institute.


Harvey Abrams, PhD, is a consulting research audiologist in the hearing aid industry. Dr. Abrams has served in various clinical, research, and administrative capacities in the industry, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Dr. Abrams received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida. His research has focused on treatment efficacy and improved quality of life associated with audiologic intervention. He has authored and co-authored several recent papers and book chapters and frequently lectures on post-fitting audiologic rehabilitation, outcome measures, health-related quality of life, and evidence-based audiologic practice.  Dr. Abrams can be reached

feature photo from Ida Institute