The sale of hearing aids online has been met with significant opposition for years, but it seems like the majority of the opposition has accepted that the sale of hearing aids online is here to stay.
It’s usually pretty easy to find out where the major opposition is coming from when any industry goes through changes. A good practise is to look at who has something to lose when the industry changes. The people not wanting to see change are usually protecting something- and 9 out of 10 times they’re protecting revenues, or a loss of revenues. Take the hearing aid business, for years the fitting of hearing aids has been something that has been heavily regulated by federal and state laws that forced anybody requiring a hearing aid, to purchase it through their doctor or audiologist, face-to-face.
Under the previous laws, hearing aids had to be purchased through ear doctors or audiologists in brick and mortar locations, which created a barrier to competition and allowed hearing aids to hit record high prices, commonly priced from $1000 - $3000 for a single hearing aid.
The American-Speech-Language-Association has voiced their 'concerns regarding consumer safety in the use of hearing aids and Amplifiers sold online or by mail-order-especially when an audiologist is not involved-and has been communicating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding oversight of these products' since the on-set of the changes in the law. We agree with these concerns, which is why all of our hearing aids are tested, programmed and serviced by certified Hearing HealthCare Providers.
On August 16th, 2012 the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and the American Academy of Audiology released a joint letter to all of their members expressing they're belief that the sale of hearing aids online was here to stay and urged their members to take a 'critical look' at their current business practices and make the necessary changes to secure their professional future.
The letter acknowledges that "Consumers have complained that hearing aid cost is a barrier to accessing hearing health care". The option consumers have to buy hearing aids online has dropped the price by thousands of dollars and may be why the professional bodies that audiologists are members of have posed the following comments and questions:
"Do you charge your patients appropriately for the products and services that you provide?"
Perhaps these comments and questions will see a change that is overdue in the traditional brick and mortar hearing business. If the professional associations predictions are correct, deciding not to change may place the future of audiologists at risk.
At Clearly Hearing we certainly hope to see the pricing model in hearing clinics change, as we know that not all people living with hearing loss should buy hearing aids online. We do believe however that all people living with hearing loss deserve affordable hearing aids.
In a follow-up article we will discuss breakthroughs in hearing aid technology that has allowed for hearing devices to be successfully fit without the need for face-to-face interaction with a Hearing HealthCare Provider.
Interested in shopping for digital open-fit and invisible hearing aids? Shop Now!