The true “secret” in regards to successful hearing aid fittings is actually the person doing the “hands on” fitting and programming of the hearing aids. If we’re talking about a decent top tier or 2nd tier hearing aid, it can generally be made to sound very well, provided the hearing aid professional has a clue about programming it.
According to factory reps who have visited us during the past year, they report that over 2/3 of the hearing aid professionals they come in contact with (hearing aid specialists and audiologists), simply fit the speaker link and tip to the patient’s ear, auto-fit the hearing aids and send them on their way. There may be one or two follow-up visits, but then, it’s simply “call them” when you need them.
There is so much wrong with this type of fitting strategy that words cannot adequately do it justice. No matter where you go, if you’re going to get decent hearing aids, it will cost you between $4000 and $6000 per pair. There are no “flagship” or “premium” hearing aids featuring the latest technology for $2000 per pair. That is simply NOT going to happen. Please don’t talk to me about the latest greatest internet “buy direct” stuff. If you want to totally waste your money, there are far better and more fun ways to do it.
So, you invest a few thousand dollars in hearing aids and the person sitting behind the computer simply hits the auto-fit button on their screen and you’re good to go. Really??? Yes, that’s pretty much the way it goes most of the time.
When you’re dealing with commissioned hearing aid specialists and commissioned audiologists, their primary goals are pretty simple to figure out. They want to sell you the highest priced hearing aids possible (20% to 25% commissions are much better on $6000 to $7000 a pair instruments than with $3000 a pair). The next thing they want to do is to get you out of your 30 or 45 day trial as quickly as possible so that you cannot return them. I’ve seen this happen countless times since I started in 1983. Sales and commissions drive the process, not the service and follow-up.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with large chains and franchises during the course of my career. If someone owns 20, 30 or 50 stores, they are going to have maybe 5 offices that do it right and at a high level. The idea that all 20, 30 or 50 offices are going to do everything equally well is nonsense. What this means is that a lot of people who buy hearing aids are hearing far worse than they should.
At Countryside Hearing, we make sure that it’s done absolutely the very best that it can be. That means a lot of follow-ups, tons of service and a never ending process of fine-tuning. Thankfully, our success rate is 9x higher than the national average (I don’t know of anyone in Tampa Bay who can prove a higher success rate). We don’t bait and switch. We don’t make silly promises. We don’t charge commissions or franchise fees. We don’t spend $20,000 to $40,000 a week on ridiculous newspaper ads (which you get to pay for). We do however spend a lot of time with you, fit the very best hearing aids currently available at any given price point and follow up, follow up and follow up.
You may be able to find cheaper hearing aids. You will not however easily find better sounding ones.
Image credit: rogistok