Boots Hearingcare, the UK’s leading private hearing care provider, opened its new flagship World of Hearing store in Welwyn Garden City on Wednesday 30 June.
The state-of-the-art concept clinic has been built with a purpose to revolutionise the way the nation thinks about hearing care and to help break down customer barriers within the sector. It will also act as the business’s main location for innovation and training.
Led by Sonova, the global leader in hearing care innovation, the concept of World of Hearing began in 2018. After opening stores across Europe, the fitting on the UK-first store took place earlier this year in the former Boots Opticians store on Howardsgate.
Boots Hearingcare’s World of Hearing store provides customers with a new immersive hearing care experience, utilising state-of-the-art equipment, including a new immersion and experience room and self-screening suites, which enables the customer to experience the benefit of wearing hearing aids in many different, and typically challenging, environments.
As part of the experience, the suites remove the need to book an appointment, with the facilities opening up the opportunity for anyone to get a hearing test and speak with an expert whenever is convenient for them.
The new Welwyn Garden City clinic will also be where Boots Hearingcare trial its new products and services and develop its staff on the industry’s future technology.
Back in March, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted the importance of hearing care globally, stating that it should now be considered a public health priority.
Within the report, WHO acknowledged that ‘the number of people living with unaddressed hearing loss and ear diseases is unacceptable’.
Fresh statistics show that people living in the UK enduring hearing loss take, on average, 10 years to address the issue. In the meantime, It is estimated that as many as four million people in the UK are currently living with unchecked hearing loss.
RNID – the national hearing loss charity – also reports that, in the UK, more than 40% of people over 50 years old have hearing loss, rising to more than 70% of people over the age of 70.
Speaking about the opening, Rob Skedge, Managing Director of Boots Hearingcare UK and Ireland, said: “Traditionally, hearing care hasn’t been an interactive experience. That’s something that both Boots Hearingcare and Sonova recognise needs to change if we are to break down barriers and the stigma that surround the topic of hearing care.
“That’s why this opening of the UK-first World of Hearing store in Welwyn Garden City is so important and so exciting. It represents an opportunity for us to revolutionise the way we think about the topic of hearing loss and how we communicate that message to the wider population and those people that need it.
“WHO’s report at the beginning of March really highlighted the importance of hearing care on a global scale. The latest information shows us that one in six of the UK adult population is affected, while it is thought that, specifically within the UK, approximately 600,000 people missed out on vital hearing care because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our long-term goal is to break down the barriers that have been in place and we believe this concept World of Hearing store represents a giant stride towards normalising the way we communicate about hearing care through a far more accessible, customer-centric, and technology-driven experience. It will truly be a fantastic experience and an amazing example of what we see as the future of audiology.”