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Why purchasing a hearing aid is a consumer nightmare

Sandra and Dan Hobson danhobson at netins.net
Fri Sep 26 02:03:08 EST 1997

Again pricing a particular product is such a narrow question to ask.  Just
because brand XYZ seems to be the latest "miracle" out of the shoot for
those of us with hearing loss...and everyone flocks to find the person
"selling" that particular product does not mean that the said audiologist
or dispenser won't use free enterprise touting ...and if that office is the
only one selling it they may quote a very premium price, because hey
they're the only ones in the area that have it and want to recoup their $
on the programming equipment rapidly in order to cover that cost and to
cover the marketing cost before "everyone else in the area is competing...
the same thing happened when ReSound first came out and I know of several
who charged $6000+ for a pair.  

Get real...and stop bickering about pricing, do your research yes, but then
discuss it with your audiologist or dispenser who is your partner in
helping you to hear better...not an adversary. Judge not on the latest
gizmo that comes out this year, but the long term relationship and trust
you need to develop....the manufaturers don't give the programmers for all
the new digital programmable hearing aids away free...classes are needed to
learn how to fit the new tachnology, how to modify if chages are needed,
basic repairs, etc....this all costs thousands of dollars to add a single
programmer from any one company to dispense that manufacturer's hearing
aids.  If one client demands a particular hearing aid I may tell them that
another office in town has that line and to go there if that is what they
have to have...I have to do the research and evaluate what products I feel
comfortable with, support given by the maufacturer for customer service,
repair record, etc.  That info customers don't always see when they are
dazzled by National advertising blitzes...

Again you are NOT just paying for that little bit of plastic with some
electronics in it.  Your audiologist's knowledge, training, and listening
skills to your complaints of "what's wrong with the hearing aid" and how to
quickly and appropriately adjust the problem are all highly variable.  What
is it worth to you to to be able to walk into your audiologist's office and
have the hearing aid checked over relatively quickly and be on your way
again with a working hearing aid or have it reprogrammed promptly by your
audiologist listening to your evaluation of the hearing aids performance
and making the appropriate changes.

Computer programmers get a premium hourly wage.  Are audiologists not
trained professionals in a very highly skilled and technical field?   

Sandra Hobson     

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