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Hearing aid dispensing economics

Prof. M. Bergman berg11 at post.tau.ac.il
Sun May 28 07:58:13 EST 1995


Re hearing aid prices:  I recently referred a friend to a dispensing
audiologist
who I knew to have obtained his Ph.D. at one of the finest university
training
programs in the U.S.A. I ws astonished to receive the friend's report
and copy
of the contract he had been asked to sign (and did).  He said that he
had been
treated kindly and well and was not unhappy, but I was deeply
disturbed at the
economics of the transaction.  He had first been told that the two
in-the -ear
aids would cost $2500 (1250 each).  After I queried the dispensing
audiologist
about such charges the latter stated that the purchase would instead
total $1900
(950 each including one tel coil in one aid.  The contract read as
follows:"This
hearing aid (s) and all accessories purchased (except for custom ear
molds and a
30 day supply of batteries) may be returned in the same condition as
delivered
within 30 days of delivery, and the purchase price of the hearing
aid(s) will be
refunded less a fee of 10% or $30.00 whichever is less.  The other
service fees
and the charges for the items listed below are not refundable.
(Latter sentence
underlined in contract)  The buyer may cancel this transacton at any
time prior
to midnight of the third business day after the transaction.The
amount
refundable shall be $600. (underlined)..." The details of the
transaction:
"Purchase Price of Hearing Aid(s) - $630; Follow-up visit - $150;
Extended 1 yr
warranty - N/C; Hearinbg Aid Selection - $400; Hearing Aid Design -
$300 (What
is that?!) Special Wiring $300 (the one tel coil?); Fee for Service -
$30.  (End
of contract)  I admit to being shaken by such economics of audiology,
never
having been a dispenser myself (In my era we were researchers and
clinicians
only)  Is this a aberrance that does not represent general prsactice
among
dispensing audiologists?  Is the breakdown of charges contrived to
justify the
refund of only $600 in the reality of a $1900 purchase? (Incidentally
my friend
had already paid a rather heavy fee for the inital workup that
included the AE
and HAE, so the charges for "Hearing Aid Selection" seem to be a
duplication).
Would one of the dispensing colleagues comment on this aexperience?
Thanks.  Moe
Bergman



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