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Simple Question?

HearWHAC HearWHAC at netins.net
Sat May 25 10:38:16 EST 1996

Jeff Sirianni says...
>I believe that the general concensus in this group is <snip>

Jeff, "consensus in this group"? What's that? "Consensus" sounds like it 
might be a cereal or something. <grin> (If this is going to be a "Concensus" 
list, how can we ever invent the wheel?)

>to present the
>wide variety of products available to the consumer and allow them to
>make their own decision concerning how much they want to spend.

Unfortunately the key words, "want to spend," too often can lead the patient 
into making serious mistakes.

>It is a matter of priorities.  It is your responsibility to present all
>the purchasing options and allow the patient to decide.  This decision
>will be made based on motivation, importance of hearing, and budget.
>No one has the right to prejudge anyone.

No matter how much we try to present "data" without bias, it does "show" 
through! So, why not just be honest and admit our "bias"? Mine is based on 
having fit more than 5,000 hearing aids plus my love for reading the 
literature and traveling all over the world attending seminars and studying 
under some of the "greats".

How many of us have made the mistake of allowing a patient to choose what 
they want only to have to pay serious consequences later? My Father was 
extremely "price" conscious and did a lot of price advertising back in the 
1940's and 1950's. Zenith offered an excellent hearing aid for $75 which was 
sold in more than 400 drug stores in Iowa alone. So, he came out with a good 
hearing aid which he advertised and sold for $69.50. Then Zenith introduced 
a new hearing aid for $50, so he came out with one for $49.50. (They were 
all good hearing aids.) The problem, Zenith's "idealistic dream" burst and 
Dad went broke (he paid all creditors, maintained a good credit rating, and 
never even thought about bankruptcy - but it came out of his meager savings 
and paying himself next to nothing for very hard work.) His patients were 
not better off because of this.

When I entered the firm in 1969, the first thing we did was to upgrade the 
prices of the hearing aids we sold. Two things happened: 1) We got rid of 
the "headaches" which Dad called "cheapskates." They are the ones who 
believe hearing aids cost too much, all hearing aid dispensers are "crooks," 
and, as a result, their "cheap" hearing aids never perform to their liking. 
2) Because our pricing was now higher, we found ourselves working with 
people who were willing to pay more, and, surprisingly, they are not so 
demanding. But, WE are more demanding in the quality of the hearing aids we 
fit. If we fit a hearing aid that costs quite a bit, we're going to do a 
better job to make sure it works well.

Once in a great while, I'll slip and sell someone a CPC (Ruth Bentler's 
term, not mine - "cheap peak clipping") aid real cheap because they choose a 
hearing aid solely based on price. We have far more returns when we sell CPC 
hearing aids - and those people who do keep them cause us all kinds of 
problems later. 

Summary of my ramblings: VALUE is a different word than price ("what they 
want to spend")! Unfortunately, some patients are more concerned about 
"price" than "value." And, they are the ones that cause us the most problems 
after the "sale." I have been known to "scare" these people away. (I am not 
"greedy." There is plenty of business for everyone. I learned a long ago 
that it is never wise to invite problems for myself.)

Paul ;-)

"Let me see now, I like the sound of that 'gall bladder surgery' so I'll 
take one of those, and, while I'm at it, I might as well have two of those 
'cataract' dealies. But, Doctor, that's all I 'want to spend'."

When the new audiologist comes to work, the very first thing I have to teach 
them (they completely missed this at the university) is to stand in front of 
a mirror and practise saying, "Seven hundred dollars." Then when they get 
good, we progress to "One thousand dollars." And so on. It is amazing how we 
learn things! Or, like my Father, work for very low wages!

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