In memory of Nathan Hurle who passionately served the Hearing Health Collaborative.
We are forever grateful for your wisdom and guidance.

What is the Hearing Health Collaborative?

A passionate group of key opinion leaders dedicated to overcoming the challenges in advancing good healthcare practices and public policy on hearing care, in connection with healthy ageing.

Initiatives span four areas: Process, Evidence, Education, and Policy.

Challenges include:

  • Attitude toward hearing health and the scale of the challenge and need
  • Stigma, affecting those with hearing loss
  • Building the evidence on the connection between hearing and healthy ageing
  • Lack of simple, consistent metrics for hearing health
  • Lack of hearing care professionals’ intervention on hearing loss in older populations
    • Lack of routine screening for adults over 50 years of age
    • Underutilization and delayed adoption of hearing aids and cochlear implants
    • Inadequately treated hearing loss
  • Lack of consistent practices for treatment and continuous care
    • Low consumer adoption of hearing aids for mild to moderate hearing losses
    • Low referrals from primary care for hearing health services
    • Low consumer and hearing care professional awareness of cochlear and other auditory implants – what they are and who they benefit (candidacy criteria), reimbursement/cost
    • Lack of recognition of the importance of Consensus on Standards of care in adult cochlear implantation
    • Lack of consistent models for cochlear implant candidacy and aftercare

Why a Collaborative?

Collaboration is an essential component to implementing health promotion and disease prevention/management. Today’s complex healthcare environment has made it difficult for patients to access care, especially those with chronic conditions such as hearing loss where people have a greater reliance on technology and innovation provided by variable delivery models.   

Many have discussed the issues and even tried different solutions. Yet, despite prior significant efforts, the results have fallen short of improving patient care. This has been attributed to a plethora of reasons including bureaucracy, lack of coordination, and limited resources. Thus, a different approach is needed.

The Hearing Health Collaborative facilitates collaboration among key stakeholders to address a significant problem in hearing health care. While these individuals have diverse expertise and backgrounds in clinical practice, education, and research; and engage in different societies or represent different organizations, the strength of the Collaborative is the neutral ground that unites the diverse group to work toward a common goal. To align on that goal, the Collaborative has leveraged the proven A3 model.

What is an A3 Model?

The A3 process is a problem-solving tool developed by Toyota to foster learning, collaboration, and growth. The term “A3” is derived from the size of paper (11” X 17”) on which the design fits and is used to define the problem, current and desired future states, root cause analysis, counter measures, prioritized implementation plan, and metrics.

The A3 process allows groups of people to actively collaborate on the purpose, goals, and strategy to solve a problem. Collaboration among content experts and key stakeholders is critical for innovation and speed. Using the A3 process to foster collaboration can help teams invest their time and energy most effectively.

Meet the collaborative participants


Matthew Carlson

Matthew Carlson, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery Division Chair, Otology & Neurotology, Medical Director, Cochlear Implant Program, Program Director, Neurotology Fellowship, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Sarah A. Sydlowski

Sarah A. Sydlowski, Au.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
Associate Chief Improvement Officer Audiology Director, Hearing Implant Program Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio

Meet the collaborative participants

Meagan Lewis

Meagan Lewis, AuD
Wake Forest Baptist Health

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown, MD, PhD
University of North Carolina

Frank Lin

Frank Lin, MD
Johns Hopkins University

Maura Cosetti

Maura Cosetti, MD
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai

Erin Miller

Erin Miller, AuD
The University of Akron

René Gifford

René Gifford, MS, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Stephanie Moody Antonio

Stephanie Moody Antonio, MD
Eastern Virginia Medical School


Samuel Gubbels, MD, FACS
University of Hospital School of Medicine/UCHealth

Tracy Murphy

Tracy Murphy, AuD
North Shore Audio‐Vestibular Lab

Richard Gurgel

Richard Gurgel, MD, MSCI
University of Utah School of Medicine

Ashley Nassiri

Ashley Nassiri, MD, MBA
Mayo Clinic

Marlan Hansen

Marlan Hansen, MD
University of Iowa

Regina Presley

Regina Presley, AuD
Greater Baltimore Medical Center

Heidi Hill

Heidi Hill, AuD
Hearing Health Clinic

Nicholas Reed

Nicholas Reed, AuD
Johns Hopkins University

Meredith Holcomb

Meredith Holcomb, AuD, CCC‐A
University of Miami

Doug Sladen

Doug Sladen, PhD
Western Washington University

Jacob Hunter

Jacob Hunter, MD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Donna Sorkin

Donna Sorkin, MA
American Cochlear Implant Alliance

Ben Balough

Ben Balough, MD, Neurotologist
Kaiser Permanente

Christopher Spankovich

Christopher Spankovich, PhD
University of Mississippi Medical Center

Anna Jilla

Anna Jilla, AuD, PhD
University of Texas Health Science Center Houston

Alex Sweeney

Alex Sweeney, MD
Baylor College of Medicine; Texas Children’s Hospital

Barbara Kelley

Barbara Kelley
Hearing Loss Association of America

Nathan Hurle

Nathan Hurle
Cleveland Clinic

In memory of Nathan Hurle who passionately served the Hearing Health Collaborative.

Nathan D. Hurle, RIP, age 47 of Shaker Hts., OH.  

Nate was born in Wareham, MA in 1974. Nate graduated from Merrimack High School in 1992, then proceeded to earn his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997.

Nate was a valued caregiver at Cleveland Clinic for over 14 years, where he led a large team of continuous improvement professionals in the work of making things better for patients and caregivers across the healthcare system. His leadership in the field was widely recognized across healthcare and other industries. He changed the lives of thousands of caregivers and millions of patients at the Cleveland Clinic and beyond. We are forever grateful for your wisdom and guidance.

Tenets for Transformation of Hearing Health

How to join the Hearing Health Collaborative

There are many opportunities for those vested in improving access to hearing health in the USA. The work to date has identified 5 focus areas in Hearing Health: Identification, Diagnosis, Motivation, Financial, and Treatment Pathways. Each area will need to engage a network of people vested in working together to improve hearing health care. This network may include individuals from hospital systems, private practices, academia, industry, or societies. We are all stronger together!

Further, participation in the Hearing Health Collaborative offers people additional benefits of interprofessional collaboration including:

  • Opportunity to transform hearing health care
  • Gain new ways of thinking about hearing health care issues and solutions
  • Network with professionals from different practices, backgrounds, and organizations
  • Gain new knowledge, wisdom from others to improve hearing health care
  • Potential to develop new skill sets 
  • Access to funding, sharing of costs (research)
  • Pooling of knowledge for solving large, complex problems in hearing health that we have not previously been able to tackle alone or in smaller, uncoordinated efforts

If you are interested, please reach out to the Collaborative Co-Chairs at info@adulthearing.com