Incorporating Tinnitus Management into Clinical Practice: Interview with Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia, AuD

tinnitus management widex zen
February 15, 2022

This week, host Dave Kemp is joined by Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia, AuD, Director of Education & Training-West Region for Widex USA.

The pair discuss the benefits of adding tinnitus evaluation and management into a clinical practice, as well as background on the solutions currently offered by Widex, a major hearing aid manufacturer that has offered tinnitus solutions in its products for many years.

Full Episode Transcript

Dave Kemp 0:10
Alright everybody, and welcome to another episode of This Week in Hearing a show where we highlight all the news and innovation happening in the worlds of audio and in this episode, specifically with hearing health. So today I’m joined by Jody Sasaki. So, Jodi, thanks so much for being here. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 0:30
Yeah, thanks. Hey, thanks for having us. My name is again, Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia. I’m one of the trainers here at Widex, USA managing the West Coast. And as audiologist for a couple of decades now. You know, I’ve seen the the market change, but what has still remained is really obviously, you know, the importance of hearing care professionals in addressing not only hearing loss related challenges, but other aspects that affect communication, right and people connecting to people. So tinnitus is huge. Obviously, all of us went through a pretty gnarly ride the last 22 months of COVID. And what we are seeing now and many of the audiologist and hearing care professionals that I visited across the country have seen an uptick in tinnitus and uptake of people coming in a little bit sooner than later, I think, which is a positive because of masking. You can’t really fake it anymore, because the lips are gone. And really just the stress, the chronic stress and more specifically today, I know we’re going to talk about tinnitus. So there’s so much that the hearing care professional community can do to support patients out there in your community for that.

Dave Kemp 1:35
Awesome. Well, as you alluded to, we are going to be talking about tinnitus, this will be a tinnitus themed conversation. And who better than to talk to than you who is like you said, a trainer for Widex, where I know that’s one of the big specialties. So before we even jump into that, though, I am always curious of the guests that I talked to tell me a little bit about how you even came into the field of audiology and how you ended up at Widex.

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 2:00
Yeah, so I’m born and raised in a little tiny town called Kona Hawaii. So I mean, we don’t have a mall, you know, when Target and Costco came it was a big deal. So I’m a sort of a small town girl. And now a big pond up here. I’m based now in Southern California. And I think audiology definitely picked me my grandfather had hearing loss, my dad, my mom, all different etiologies. My grandpa was a band director in the high school. And at that time, you know, they never had, you know, sort of an OSHA standard. So he lost his hearing because of being exposed to so much music and loud music. And but my grandfather was a professional piano tuner. So even when I was a kid, kind of, you know, seeing second hand at the challenges that hearing loss brings, but on the positive note, you know, how much better his communication got as technology got better and hearing aids. So when I went to, you know, the west from the, from Hawaii to that, quote, unquote, East Coast, which wasnt the East Coast, I went to school in Colorado. This is pre internet, I’m dating myself. You know, I landed in Denver, and I was like, Where are the mountains? They’re so far away. And, you know, some of my new friends had to tell me that I’m not on the East Coast. I’m actually smack dab in the middle of the United States. And I went to Greeley Colorado for undergrad and grad and really an undergrad is where sort of I you know, I noticed, wow, communication disorders is a really cool opportunity. It could allow me to go back to Hawaii and really give back to my community if I wanted to. And, you know, I went through their double majored in speech path and aud, ended up going to grad school for Audiology. Right when I was coming out, the AuD started so when I was at Mayo Clinic, as an audiologist, I went back to school virtually and got my AuD. So been a little bit of a kind of cool, windy road. But like everything in audiology, thank goodness, technology has helped elevate the profession. The tools have helped elevate our skill sets. And we’re able to just to do good, which is what I think most of us in the hearing care field got into in the first place is to help people and to really help change lives everyday that that we are able to be blessed with helping patients.

Dave Kemp 4:09
For sure. Mahalo. Well, that’s a really cool story. So so that’s interesting, too, that you kind of were straddling the fence between audiology in the SLP world, what was it ultimately, that led you to the audiology side, as opposed to going down the SLP path?

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 4:28
You know, I think one was, you know, as a grad student, or undergrad student, I should say, you know, working on on the sound with a kiddo in clinic for a whole semester and just like, it just wasn’t my passion, and then going into audiology clinic going yeah, you know, you can run hearing aids and microphones, and at that time, Widex had launched their first digital hearing aid and you could program it with a box. So I’m a geek at heart. I love to learn. I love technology, you know, it doesn’t scare me. I’m done. Definitely on that early adopter bell curve of things, and I just like the fact that it was a little bit more black and white in terms of the science, and the fact that there were tools that were really elevating that science to the next level pretty much every every couple of years. So I made the switch, as some people would say, to the dark side, and to the field of audiology never looked back.

Dave Kemp 5:21
That’s great. So okay, so you, you end up getting your AuD And then what did you immediately go and work for Widex or were there some stops along the way?

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 5:30
there’s a couple of steps along the way. You know, I went to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. And really, you know, at that point, my, my sort of drive was to go into vestibular audiology, diagnostics. Obviously, at Mayo Clinic, you know, you see a lot of cases that in school, they tell you, you’ll never see, or maybe you’ll see one. And I would see multiple a week, you know, a lot of acoustic neuromas a lot of sudden hearing losses, a lot of different other etiologies that I wouldn’t have been exposed to. So I really wanted to make sure, industry was already always in my, in my sort of, this is where I would eventually want to be. But I knew that I needed to get the clinical experience first, in order to be able to help other hearing care professionals in the field. So Mayo was an awesome opportunity, I was able to, you know, be involved in a lot of the cochlear implant programs as well. So it allowed me to diversify and really hone into, you know, what, I really love hearing aids, and I love dealing with patients, the grouchier the better. And, you know, because it just shows you how hearing loss impacts people in such a negative way. And a lot of a lot of end users don’t realize the challenges or the changes that they’ve have made, because of untreated hearing loss. And so I you know, it was very, very rewarding. And it continues to be a couple years after that, I made some connections in the in the industry and actually worked for a couple of different global manufacturers. But always on the training side, I always wanted to still keep that connection with the patient, sort of, you know, be boots on the ground, if you will, because the market has changed a lot. And clinically the flow, the field, the education, the billing, the reimbursement, all of that has changed so much, really in the last two decades. And more importantly, now sitting here with OTCs really has really caught hyperspeed really in the last couple years.

Dave Kemp 7:18
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with that last point that you made, they’re very much feels like we’re in hyperspeed right now. And I think that actually is a perfect segue into, you know, what we’re going to talk about today, which is, you know, kind of like another one of these, I would call it you know, facets of hearing health, which is tinnitus, and tinnitus, management, therapy, rehabilitation, and all that. And so, I think it’s really fascinating that you have, you know, as like a trainer at Widex, you also have all of this clinical experience from the Mayo Clinic. So you have the real world experience of what it looks like, of all these people that you’re training, you know, what you kind of have that empathy of like day in the life of I know, I’ve walked in your shoes before, and I kind of have a sense of what you’re experiencing with these patient interactions. So I guess let’s start with Widex. And sort of philosophically speaking, I know that this has always been a theme within wide access product offerings, and just sort of deeply rooted within Widex in general is tinnitus. So kind of walk me through, like, why this is something that that the roots seem to run so deep with regards to tinnitus and Widex.

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 8:31
Yeah, so you know, Widex is a company who is, you know, 60 years young, is they’ve always looked at, you know, how do we help support an impaired system? And first and foremost, you know, as a hearing care professional, you of course, education is key, I believe, because sometimes, you know, if you Google What’s wrong with you, you find all the things that are terrible, instead of things that could be helpful. And there’s so much information out there, especially now with the internet and so many other sort of social media platforms. It’s like how do you you know, how do you make sure that number one the professionals are educated so that they can be that local extension to those that their local population who are experiencing either hearing loss tinnitus and or both situations regardless if their pediatric or adult I think sometimes too, you know, I did a stent in pediatrics and sometimes even kids who report tinnitus are overlooked. And, you know, whereas they have challenges just like an adult patient in terms of focus and memory and attention. So I would hope in the future that there’s some some more, you know, research being done on some kids, you know, kids with tinnitus and tinnitus applications because most of what we’ll talk about today, obviously as adults 18 over a tinnitus Widex has has really looked at, you know, the the hearing challenges in a couple of ways, but most importantly, what is limiting that patient for social participation? Because we know what they pull back on that there’s a lot of other negative things that sort of snowball so we can address the hearing, either by you know, education or obviously, if they have hearing loss or minimal or hitting hearing loss, or just tinnitus alone, no hearing loss, that there’s always options and tools for the hearing care professional to help that patient and meet them where they are. At that moment, some patients aren’t willing to move forward with a hearing aid, but they’re willing to move over, move forward with a sound therapy ear level tool. So Widex recognized that early, a couple of decades ago, they launched products that were tinnitus only. And you could activate the hearing loss part of it if you and the patient decided that that was part of the treatment plans. So a lot of the the past maskers weren’t effective tools for clinicians. It was one of those things where your patient would say, oh, yeah, this helps. And then they’d be back in your chair two weeks later, and say it helped for two weeks. Now what? And then a lot of us were sort of stuck with Oh, great. Now what? Right? So moving forward, Widex looked at a lot of the research based on music, knowing how much music does have a positive impact, and also stimulates a much wider range of the brain. And so when they came out with a proprietary Zen therapy tool to support tinnitus, it was really angled or focused on needing the sound therapy sort of vision and following a lot of that science and then applying that to the hearing healthcare space. So it gave clinicians on a brand new tool that could have much more longer lasting effects, and also flexibility that clinic the clinicians needed, because we know that with patients, if stress changes, or life events change, a lot of times their tinnitus change. So we needed an opportunity for the clinician to have enough flexibility and then give the patient also have some control back. So as tech has innovated ear level controls, remote controls, and then now app based controls. So a lot of different aspects of that, but the key is addressing, you know, the anatomical and the physiology around tinnitus and stress and that cycle around that. And then how do we modify and use tools that are music in nature, to be able to address that stimulate the brain in a positive way, and and provide a really strong clinical tool with decades of evidence about addressing that with the adult population. And, you know, we can share with the listeners here with those those who are interested in reading those those articles on a Friday night.

Dave Kemp 12:31
Well, I find what’s interesting here, you know, this whole idea of app based therapies is obviously, you know, you look around, everybody has a smartphone in the US today, right? And I mean, I think it’s upwards of like 87% of the adult population has like a smartphone. And so what’s really exciting about that is just the sheer availability of something like this. So just walk me through if I were a patient coming into a clinic, and I have this debilitating tinnitus that’s going on, what what would that sort of conversation look like? And what does that rehabilitation program, I guess, sort of look like and I know, there’s obviously a battery of tests that you want to perform to ensure that there isn’t something that’s like underlying that’s going on. But I find this to just again, be really interesting, because again, it sort of cast a wider net, it makes you I think, more applicable to more people, which, again, in the face of this OTC market, I think that the real glass half full, you know, argument is that I think a lot more people now are potential candidates for your services as a hearing professional, and that is really exciting to me.

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 13:48
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So you know, typically what it looks like. And again, I you know, those people listening in, they may already have an existing protocol that they follow, maybe it’s more of a TRT approach, tinnitus, retraining therapy, or maybe it’s more of a PTM, progressive tinnitus management or sort of a hybrid of that. And what most audiologists are qualified to do audiologists and hearing care professionals, depending upon state licensure, is you know, taking a case history figuring out what’s going on, is it sat in, or has it been there for a long time, there are tools online that you can find on the Widex website, called like, for instance, the THI, that is the a clinically based tool for evaluating the handicap sort of percentage. So it’s a screening tool, because some offices maybe aren’t as equipped to deal with the whole entire spectrum and don’t maybe have a full tinnitus program. But that doesn’t mean we don’t help these people in our community. Right. So what we’ve been educating, hearing care professionals is, look, this is opportunity for you to continue to help your local community and also if you also do telehealth, it’s enables you to be able to reach more people to help them If they do have some challenges, and they don’t have maybe local services there, and providing just a th is the patient, you know, you understand what the patient is bringing to you, along with the case history that will determine sort of the next steps. And sometimes some patients just need to be able to talk to a professional. So they get the right education, they get the right tools, they get the right sort of next steps of wherever the patient is willing to go. Next, maybe the next step is to get the hearing checked, maybe the next step is to go home and read some education that is created by the hearing healthcare community around tinnitus. And, you know, can dispel some of the myths of, you know, of some of the other therapeutics that make a lot of claims outside of our industry, that maybe patients have been disappointed or, you know, maybe they visited a couple of local medical professionals that said, there’s nothing that can be done, and yet, there’s so much we can do once you’re in that healthcare space. So that sort of next steps of what happens in the clinic can vary. I know that many more clinics are starting to unbundle to separate the tool from the service. And so some offices are saying, Hey, we have a tinnitus. You know, we have a tinnitus evaluation, it’s this much money to do a telehealth to speak with a professional, it’s this if you want to come in and then you know, if you want to go further, here’s some ala carte services that we can provide. And then you can kind of see to how motivated the patient is. Sometimes they’re sort of stuck in a headspace that they just want to take something and make it go away. And you and I know if that was the case, then there would definitely be, you know, people riding yachts in the ocean, it’s not, there is no silver bullet. But on the flip side, there’s so much we can do you know, the tools that we offer. Even if somebody is not willing to wear your level product, our app is on the App Store, both for Apple and Android. And people can download that and use that as a sound therapy or sound generator, on your level through their air pods, for instance, or on a docking station to have a sound rich environment to really help kind of bring down that that level of anxiety and stress.

Dave Kemp 17:12
Yeah, that’s really neat. So if you use the AirPods method, like you described there, what’s that look like? Is it like 20 minutes a day? 30 minutes a day? How does it work?

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 17:22
Yeah, you know, I think it depends how disruptive the tinnitus is to that patient. So again, you know, each patient sort of journey and plan is going to be a little bit different. But for those mild cases, or for those cases, where they come in, and they say, Hey, you know what, every couple of months, my tinnitus just acts up. And I just like I have to take off of work or, you know, I’m really, you know, angry at my family or, you know, things that we know are sort of happening outside of that that individual, you know, any and it doesn’t have to be air pods, it could be really any Bluetooth, earpiece, headset, headphone, that sort of thing. And the Widex Zen app, again, it’s a free app, but it has really four important components. One is there is there’s educational modules, really short, kind of you read some things about tinnitus, frequently asked questions. Second, there are relaxation exercises. And it talks about the importance of breathing, you know, getting your resting heart rate down, getting your body sort of more in tuned. Third would be you know, do you want to use some sound therapy tools. So there are ocean sounds, there’s rain sounds, and some people you know, will say, you know, if you’re if your tinnitus is acting up, turn on the app, start streaming some of those sounds, make sure you you know, you address you know, what’s maybe causing attacked up and use some of those relaxation and breathing exercises, and then remind them that there’s that educational component there to remind them what is happening, what is going on. And these are some of the the tools and the facets. And then the fourth would be, you know, they can customize some of that sound, potentially. So if they’re, you know, if they’re wearing if they like a certain sound, and they want to put it on a timer, because that’s where they’re going to meditate or that’s when, you know, 30 minutes before they go to bed. Because the tinnitus is disrupting their their sleep. Then there’s some timers and some other personalized things that they can do. But again, it’s only an app and you know, all of us have a lot of apps on our phones, but if it, nobody tells you how to use it usefully and meaningfully, it’s just going to sit there. So a lot of times part of that just education with the hearing care provider going look, you know, this is what we found, you know, you don’t have wax in your ear, you have some hearing loss, or maybe you don’t. And let’s try some of the sound therapy first. And then if you find you know, you want more or you want a more a more complete program than here are the next steps here at my clinic. If that clinic can’t do that. There’s a couple of online options now which is pretty cool, where you can actually pay for services. Virtually, with a couple of different audiology based tinnitus groups online now that just sort of sprouted up within the last two years, which I think is a really nice option for local clinics who maybe don’t have the skill set or the additional team members to do some additional full, full service programs for tinnitus.

Dave Kemp 20:19
Yeah, no, I agree. I think that’s what’s really interesting is we’re seeing all kinds of things of that nature just popping up. Like, you now have these audiologists with the, you know, really leveraging these telehealth platforms in the ability to see their patients remotely. And leaning into these like, I don’t even know if I would call it an ancillary offering as much as it’s just part of the like total picture of and this is why I think it’s really interesting. Because, you know, I think all of this really lends itself to this whole idea of like, audiologist having a more holistic offering that is different than maybe some of these more very hearing aids centric offerings that are really only addressing one thing. And I just see it as being, you know, this idea of, I’m going in, I’m seeing my hearing professional, because they’re my medical professional for this part of my anatomy. And then there’s a lot of different facets of that. And so it’s part of a, it’s part of a bigger picture. And I think that, you know, helping to manage your tinnitus, even if it’s all just sort of issued through an app, I think there’s still a lot of value there and being able to have a conversation and say, Look, things are getting better. There’s a lot of underlying things like, like you said, like stress and what’s actually going on in your day to day, and so being able to have those conversations, but having a tool that can sort of facilitate that daily conditioning of you know, helping to train and retrain your brain in certain way, is really effective. So I think it’s really, really cool. I guess one question I have as as a trainer, you know, you’re obviously interacting with a lot of the audiologists and hearing professionals. What’s kind of been your experience, I guess, over these last few years in terms of how do audiologists that you’re seeing, by and large, sort of what’s their perception on tinnitus? Are you seeing this become more of a focus in something that more and more are adopting in their clinic? Can you just speak to maybe even instances where maybe you met somebody, and the first time you met them there wasn’t much of a tinnitus presence flash forward a year or two later. Now there’s it’s a major focus – What are some of the like, secondary, you know, effects of having a tinnitus presence within your clinic?

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 22:40
Yeah, so for sure, I think, you know, to kind of move away many practices want to differentiate their value proposition, you don’t want to look like maybe a warehouse down the road that is selling a tool for, you know, half the price, right? And then all of a sudden, it just sort of is this weird conversation to the licensed provide hearing care provider? About why does it cost so much here when it’s cheaper here? And so how do you sort of just avoid that whole conversation and and to the public show that you’re not just about providing a hearing aid, but you are a more inclusive, all things hearing balance and communication related, because that’s all within the scope of practice for a licensed hearing care professional here in the United States. So I think that’s one is just diversify and the communicating that clearly on you know, your social media channels, many practices have a Facebook page, they have a website, let the website work for you. I even know some some offices are starting to create tic toc pages, as well, to kind of just show a more diversified community that, hey, you’re not you’re not only there to, you know, service, people who need hearing aids, but everything that that encompasses communication, challenges Hearing and Balance related for all ages, for all budgets, and wherever that patient is willing to move forward, that for the next step, the next step may not be I’m waiting to come in the next step might be I’m willing to take a 15 minute telehealth, and you can bill me, you know, through your your Office app or your office website. So I think that’s number one is just having that sort of open mindset to know Look, we’ve been trained with this, if anybody has been trained about hearing and balance and tinnitus, and all the etiology and the causes, we as an audiologist, we’ve went to school for almost 10 years, including our externships we should own this. But I also understand the reality of the day to day practice, right? Because we’re wiping things down. Now. There’s that sort of COVID fatigue about just dealing with that that chronic stress and so sometimes adding a tinnitus aspect to that can be overwhelming for many practices. So I talked to hearing care professionals and I say you don’t have to go from from 1 to 100. Like there’s different steps that you can offer slowly so that it doesn’t, it doesn’t sort of stress your current flow of your office. This space, it could be as simple as putting some education on your website dedicating a couple of audiologist who are interested in, you know, in that aspect of Audiology and Hearing Care, which is tinnitus specific, because sometimes those patients are a little bit different. Sometimes they’re a little bit more needy, and having the right education to pair with that would be ideal. And then third, I think, is just considering, you know, you don’t always have to bundle right. And so I think, offices, owners, clinicians, it’s like, it’s okay, like they should be paying for your educational time. You know, I booked a telehealth visit with my physician when I had some questions about my children’s scanning some vaccines, and I was willing to pay that 15 minute or 30 minute out of pocket so that I was educated a little bit more with my my professional. So just being able to sort of even create a sort of niche or program so that patients in your local community realize they can come to you for tinnitus, you don’t have to have a full fledged program. I we talked about maybe having a tiered program, where do you just want to, you know, have an education component and then refer out to a local business that does more in depth tinnitus therapy, do you want to then maybe go another step in and send some of your hearing care professionals to a virtual training on TRT or PTM, so that they have a little bit more knowledge on that? Or third, do you want to create a full fledged program, and then we do have some business management resources at Widex that can really help with that help with talking about billing help talking about block scheduling. So it just depends on how people want to enter. But today, I say because the glass should be half full, don’t deny this opportunity, because it is a really positive opportunity for you to continue to diversify your skill set your value add in your community.

Dave Kemp 26:52
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And, you know, I know you’ve mentioned telehealth a few times throughout this, but it really does seem to be kind of right in that sweet spot where I imagine you know, have that maybe that initial visit is in the clinic, and then the follow up visits can be done through a, like you said a 30 minute consultation over over something a lot like this, right. So I just see that as being a really positive trend toward the future as again, it’s like, you can just, you know, maybe 25 minutes of that 30 minute consultation isn’t really even about the tinnitus, specifically, as much as it is just really listening to them and hearing about what’s going on in their life so that you get a really good sense of like, okay, I kind of starting to understand what’s the underlying issues here. And I think for the patient that just provides them with a sounding board of like, I need a professional, I need an expert to talk to about this, because I am suffering from this. And I, and I’m really trying to find somebody to turn to here.

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 27:49
Yeah. And you know, I mean, I’m sure you’ve had, you know, maybe a weird spot on your on your hand, or, you know, you have a coffee, you’re like, oh my gosh, what is that? You know, and and that alone causes anxiety, which if you had tinnitus would make it worse. I mean, I don’t have a lot of constant tinnitus. But over the last 22 months, every couple of nights a week I have tinnitus. Now, you know, there’s just a lot of things going on in my personal life. And I’ve had to read and I have normal hearing, but I’ve reached for the Widex Zen app, I’ve turned it on 15-20 minutes, I’m like, okay, I’m good, I’m chill. The tinnitus comes down, you know, I can move on. But but I’m educated about that, right. And I know a lot about that. So a lot of times just the educational component to that consumer to that end user can go a really long way. And then you know, if they decide they want to do you know something about their hearing problems, they do have some hearing loss, or maybe a friend says hey, I have hearing loss, then all of a sudden that referral source of you being that go to for the community becomes a much, much wider net for what you can do to support your local community in that aspect. The other thing that I think is, a lot of times maybe overlooked is or or clinicians think is they have to provide this full service. And it’s just like, you know, offices who maybe see, you know, they don’t see pediatrics all the time, it gets to a point that they’re like, Hey, this is sort of out of my my scope of what I’m comfortable with and they always would refer to maybe a pediatric hospital, the same I believe should happen with tinnitus. All of us have the education in the hearing healthcare space to be able to do sort of that level one triage of, you know, having maybe a private paid telehealth appointment or in person, 15-20-30 minute appointment, depending upon, you know, what your billable per hour is, and be able to offer at least a consultation opportunity with some education. And then if you do want to get a little bit deeper in, you know, sound therapy tools, like the Widex Zen hearing device, the Widex device that has Zen in it, I should say, or the app then that’s when a lot of offices will reach out and we’ve had quite a bit of offices reached out to us in the last, you know, two years because of the influx of patients coming in saying, hey, you know, yeah, I got hearing loss, but the tinnitus is really driving me nuts. And these offices have said, you know, just sometimes the education and the tools that we have provided to them, has really helped that patient say, thank you so much, you know, I’m good now. And they’re, they’re, you know, off doing their thing. Sometimes they’ll say, Wow, somebody, you know, nobody ever gave me the opportunity to listen to something other than a masker. And so that hope came back. And we’ve had many, many stories of patients telling their hearing care provider, if it wasn’t for this Zen program and you working with me, I would have had to quit my job, or I would have, you know, I would have not been able to go out and be socialist much. Or I would have been so debilitating with my anxiety that I wouldn’t have been able to sort of, you know, start a new career or be a better mom or a dad. So sometimes just again, that there’s there’s that three fold, right, that’s the education, there’s access to that provider. And then there are flexibility and the tools and it doesn’t always have to be a hearing aid, ear level tool. It could be education around the Zen app that can really help support that clinician. And it, yeah, rewarding for the patient, rewarding for the clinician, and potentially another revenue sort of driver into the practice, which is huge.

Dave Kemp 31:21
I couldn’t agree more. No, I think this has been just a really interesting conversation. So for those listening that want to learn more, I want to follow up, where’s the best way to connect with you and just learn more about all this?

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 31:33
Yep, the best way we’ve got couple two different ways. We’ve got audiology online sessions that you can learn about the Widex product and then more specifically, the Zen programming. And then the second would be reaching out to your local Widex team, you can call the local Widex 800 Professional number and get connected to your team there locally of your rep, or your trainer. And then thankfully with Zoom, we can schedule some some remote trainings and get people up to speed to where they are comfortable entering in with that tinnitus therapy support options.

Dave Kemp 32:05
Awesome. Jodi. Well, this has been such a great conversation. I really appreciate you coming on. Thanks for everybody who tuned in here to the end and we will chat with you next time.

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia 32:13
Thanks, Dave.

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Professional Support Docs for Hearing Professionals Blog on what Widex Zen Therapy is all about:

Widex Zen Therapy Program:

Audiology Online course on: Why treat tinnitus patients

American Tinnitus Association: Understanding the facts about Tinnitus

Hearing professionals can obtain virtual or in-person training on Widex Zen by calling Widex USA 800-221-0188 or send a request online to


About the Panel

Jodi Sasaki-Miraglia, AuD completed a double bachelor’s degree in Audiology & Speech Language Pathology at the University of Northern Colorado.  Jodi also holds a Master’s degree in Audiology and a Doctorate degree in Audiology from Salus University.  She has dedicated the last 18 years of her career working for top global hearing device manufacturers as a Manager of Education & Training, Manager of Audiology Technical support, Sales support, and Practice Management.  Jodi is proud to be an Audiologist for almost two decades. Her past positions include working as a Clinical Audiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale and in Audiology Private Practice.  Jodi is a frequent guest lecture at local Au.D. programs, provides public outreach for Hearing Healthcare, and presents at local and national meetings.  Jodi was born and raised in Kona, Hawai’i, is an avid SPAM eater, and enjoys living in Southern California with her family and Golden Retriever Rex.


Dave Kemp is the Director of Business Development & Marketing at Oaktree Products and the Founder & Editor of Future Ear. In 2017, Dave launched his blog,, where he writes about what’s happening at the intersection of voice technology, wearables and hearing healthcare. In 2019, Dave started the Future Ear Radio podcast, where he and his guests discuss emerging technology pertaining to hearing aids and consumer hearables. He has been published in the Harvard Business Review, co-authored the book, “Voice Technology in Healthcare,” writes frequently for the prominent voice technology website,, and has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace.

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