Things You Should Know......
TEN MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE BEFORE BUYING HEARING AIDS…
- YOU CAN BE IN BIG TROUBLE IF YOU FAIL TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “BUNDLING” AND “UNBUNDLING” FOR CHARGES AFTER THE SALE. (It can double the dealers’ profit)
Quality hearing aids can cost an arm and a leg. How ironic that some of the most established and most respected hearing aid offices now want a finger every time you turn around. It is a costly mistake to assume your purchase price covers much of anything after the sale, except for factory repairs covered under the warranty. Dealerships cannot bill Medicare with one hand and offer free hearing tests with the other. So…it’s not uncommon for charges of $150.00 for every hearing testing, $80.00 for an ear pressure test, $40.00 for hearing aid cleaning, $300.00 to $700.00 for repairs, $60.00 for an adjustment or re calibration, the list goes on and on. What an outrageous surprise if you change wax guards with each battery and have to pay $5.00 for 4 simple wax tips.
- THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE IS TO BECOME OBSESSED WITH A MISGUIDED QUEST TO SEEK THE LOWEST PRICE.
It is recognized by experienced hearing aid wearers that 60% of the value, and indeed the heart of each successful hearing aid fitted in the Professional Audiologist or Dispenser upon whose future lifetime care and attention the patient is depending upon. Anyone can sell a hearing aid, even mail order companies. Today’s sophisticated digital technology makes patient satisfaction largely dependent upon the education, skill, and integrity of the dispenser. It is not uncommon for hearing aid sellers to promote a low price only to persuade an unsuspecting public that their unique situation requires a more expensive solution. When you find an experienced heart specialist with a great reputation you don’t question the price or quality of your pacemaker. The best hearing aids are many times more sophisticated. Seek out an experienced practice with a good reputation and trust them to do their job.
- NEVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF ASSUMING THAT THE HEARING AID COMPANIES THAT RUN BIG FULL PAGE NEWSPAPER ADS HAVE DIFFERENT OR BETTER PRODUCTS THAN MOST OTHER HEARING AID DISPENSERS.
The hearing aid industry has been reduced very quickly from some 200 manufacturers down to six. If six clinics advertise in Monday’s paper, theoretically they could all be selling the exact same hearing aid under six different brand names. If one clinic is paying $200,000.00 each month for advertising and high commissions to salesmen, you could find yourself paying twice as much from a clinic that might not even be around to service you down the road.
- NEVER ASSUME A HIGH PRICE TAG IS A REFLECTION OF HIGHER QUALITY, THE TRUE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT OR ANY PARTICULAR LEVEL OF SERVICE.
Let the buyer beware. It is a sad reality that the consumer should do some homework, get everything in writing, and at least make a simple phone call to the Better Business Bureau. The State of Ohio mandates a 30 day right to rescind any hearing aid purchase. It is wise to get a second or even third opinion before making a final decision on something as important as better hearing. It should be a big red flag when any dealer pressures you against getting a second opinion.
- DON’T MAKE UNEDUCATED UNREALISTIC OR FALSE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT SOME OF THE BIG NAME HEARING COMPANIES THINKING “THEY HAVE BEEN AROUND FOREVER”
As an example, Beltone is now owned by the Danish and Miracle Ear has been bought out by a company overseas. Some so called manufacturers are farming out the entire manufacturing process overseas, converting their efforts primarily to selling and marketing. Hearing aid manufacturers are buying and selling each other as well as buying up hearing aid offices at alarming speed. Now, more than at any time in history, the consumer should seek out a well established clinic with a good reputation. You don’t want to buy a hearing aid…you want to buy an honest experienced dispenser, and a lifetime relationship that included a guarantee of integrity and after the sale services. Trust the clinic to pick the technology.
- DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED THAT THE KNOWLEDGEABLE PERSON WHO “SELLS” YOU WILL BE THERE FOR THE SERVICE YOU MIGHT NEED DOWN THE ROAD.
Hearing aid dealers can hire anyone with a high school education to service your needs for the 2 years it can take for them to obtain a license. Students in school to be Audiologists may have virtually no hearing aid experience as they work as “free” employees at an Audiologists office to gain a Certificate of Clinical competency. Either group can be found to provide service without the supervision of the person you initially entrusted with your money and your confidence. It pays to ask questions. Nothing beats experience, and you may feel that life is too short to put up with programming, adjustments and the problem solving skills of someone who doesn’t fully know what they are doing.
- ASK…HOW MANY OWNERS OR MANAGERS HAVE BEEN IN CHARGE AT THIS LOCATION OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS?
An honest answer may surprise you. An unusually high turnover of personnel with many high profile offices may be a sign of internal problems and an indication that you might want to do a little more shopping around.
- IF YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR STYLE HEARING AID IN MIND AND THE DISPENSER ATTEMPTS TO STEER YOU IN ANOTHER DIRECTION…QUESTION THE DISPENSERS’ TRUE MOTIVATION.
Most hearing losses can be successfully fitted with any style, however, battery life and dexterity are certainly considerations. If billing your insurance company is a consideration the dealer may attempt to fit something off the shelf or from old inventory, rather than spend the money for something custom made that involves billing and waiting on payment. All makes and models can be checked out on the internet. If there is a significant discrepancy in price, make certain you know what services you are getting. It never hurts to ask for an extended warranty, loss and damage protection or several years’ free batteries. Most dispensers have that discretion, especially if they know you are shopping.
- DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO TALK YOU INTO A ROLLS ROYCE TECHNOLOGY IF YOUR AGE, DEXTERITY, LIFE STYLE AND INCOME CALL FOR A RELIABLE FORD OR CHEVY.
When it comes to our health, we always want the “best” for ourselves and our loved ones, but don’t allow the enthusiasm of the moment to overshadow your best judgment. Many dealers offer a GOOD-BETTER-BEST choice knowing most people will choose the middle option. If you have financial problems and the purchase might actually take food off your table, go with the lower price but demand a written option to upgrade for several months.
- BEFORE SAYING YES!, SAY I WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS OR LET ME GET BACK TO YOU. IT CAN BE IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO JUDGE THE REACTION OF THE SELLER.
Even if you have every intention to give the demonstrated hearing aids a try, it won’t hurt anything to play a little hard to get. By slowing down, backing up and throwing the dispenser an unexpected curve, you get to confirm and support your impression. It is a big investment in yourself. Take time to explore any possible chance of high pressure tactics that may present themselves.
- BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE DAY OF THE WEEK, TIME OF DAY AND DAY OF THE MONTH CAN WORK TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
Many offices reward their employees with weekly and monthly selling bonuses. The last appointment each day assures you of the dispenser’s undivided attention, with no phone calls, walk in interruptions, etc. Any weekly sales bonus can work to your advantage on a Friday. The prices are rarely set in stone; also’ there is almost always a discretion or wiggle room when it comes to trade allowances, free batteries, extended warranties and loss and damage protection. On the final days of the month, dispensers are often eager to reach a monthly quota for bonus. So, your best time to buy hearing aids should be late on the last Friday of the month. If the dispenser is just eager to end a long week and go home, that can work to your favor as well.
- FAILING TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS OF ONE STYLE HEARING AID OVER ANOTHER.
You should consider and question obvious things like the limitations of small aids and small batteries as they relate to your dexterity both now and over the life of your aids. Do you perspire, or does your lifestyle require water resistance? Do you take walks, play golf, or find yourself in the wind? If so, the placement of microphones can be important if you don’t want to put up with an irritating sound like a train noise. MORE IMPORTANT…How are you ever going to know if the dispenser has ordered sufficient “gain”, (volume), or reserve built into your instruments to allow for future programming? You deserve to keep your hearing in focus as your hearing loss gets worse. It can be the training, skill and integrity of the dispenser that determines whether the technology ordered will be sufficient for your needs for only the next few years or for the long haul.
- NEVER FAIL TO ASK WHAT THE PRECISE EXPERIENCE LEVEL AND QUALIFICATIONS ARE OF THE PERSON WHO IS TESTING YOUR HEARING.
It is impossible for a consumer to determine whether the personable and persuasive personality of a salesman has only a few moths experience under their belt. A charming ex aluminum siding salesman can seem more convincing than a college educated Doctor of Audiology or a dispenser with many years experience. When it comes to your long term hearing satisfaction, there is simply no substitute for integrity and experience.
WE STARTED WITH 10 MISTAKES AND FINISHED WITH 13. There are many more. Here is some food for thought. The state of Ohio came to the rescue of consumers by demanding that hearing aid sales provide the buyer with a 30 day right to return and receive a refund. Can you think of another product or industry in which consumer protection was so necessary or appropriate? There is none.
AT THE HOUSE OF HEARING WE ENCOURAGE OUR PATIENTS TO SHOP AND COMPARE. WE ARE SO CONFIDENT IN WHAT WE OFFER THAT WE PAY $100.00 PLUS A 100% REFUND IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THAT YOU ARE UNSUCCESSFUL OR DISSATISFIED FOLLOWING A 30 DAY HOME TRIAL. THERE IS A REASON FOR OUR DISIGNATION “MODEL CENTER OF EXCELLENCE”. Please visit us for a no cost, no obligation information visit.
SOME HISTORY OF RECHARGABLE HEARING AIDS AND THE RECENT NU EAR RELEASE
OF THE “BEST” AND ONLY SYSTEM I HAVE BEEN WILLING TO PROMOTE, SELL,
OR ADVERTISE IN MORE THAN 30 YEARS (SINCE 1985)
By James Nevins, Pres. House of Hearing Inc.
A recent survey confirmed that 70% of Hearing Aid wearers would prefer rechargeable over conventional disposable batteries. Having had more practical hearing aid experience and personally having fitted more hearing aids and rechargeables than any other Ohio dispenser, ( since 1968),I can speak with some authority. From 1974 through 1986 “Rechargeable “hearing aids were fast flooding the market, but met with disastrous consequences. Several manufacturers in Florida released inadequately tested rechargeable systems, resulting in many instruments or recharging boxes actually melting or catching fire. The early days found manufacturers using replaceable, rechargeable Ni cad cells that looked much like conventional batteries. There was fire cracker like explosions when conventional batteries were accidently inserted and charged up instead of cells. I had personally witnessed a delayed blast, directly in a patients ear while he was on a ladder … hours after removal from the charge box. Years later, with tens of thousands of wearers reasonably content, the German firm Varta suddenly stopped manufacturing the necessary Ni cad cells, causing unimaginable problems and expense. An anticipated convenience and savings of money was never to be had for many wearers unfortunate to have had non removable rechargeable cells permanently soldered inside their aids. Expecting the cells to last for years, sometimes they stopped in weeks or months. The resulting repair expenses and weeks with no aid, often found disgruntled customers questioning if their hearing aid had quit because it really needed a repair or if the cell had simply stopped working.
Over the past 10 years or so, there has been a resurgence of rechargeable hearing aids. THE BIG PROBLEM NOW, AS IN THE PAST HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN INABILITY TO PRODUCE A FULL DAYS POWER. Currently, the public demand is for the smaller, more sophisticated Digital technologies that require high battery drain. The most popular, more invisible style, usually take the ideal 312 size battery. For that, the only rechargeable solution even available for all day power is our preferred Z power, silver- zinc, as a power source. There is a great advantage also when this technology can be fitted to a patients existing hearing aid without a new hearing aid purchase.
My only other consideration for all day power is a lithium ion power source. My first introduction was in February 2017. The Manufacturers are reliable and known for outstanding research development and quality control. My personal problem is with permanent encapsulation. Lithium ion is inherently unstable and I am not convinced there cannot be unforeseen problems years from now. Samsung has quite a research and development team, but there were unforeseen reasons lithium ion cell phones and other products catch on fire or not allowed on airlines. No hearing aid is likely to take down an airplane but lithium can kill a child or a dog if crushed and swallowed. Plus, with 150 billion batteries now seeping lead and acid into our ground water, it seems illogical to add lithium to the mix if there is a safer alternative.