Do some things seem too good to be true? The Hearing aid consumer market has become increasingly competitive which is great news for the consumer. On the flip side, pushy sales tactics and “smoke and mirrors” sales practices by larger corporate chains can sometimes make it hard to work out how to navigate the marketplace to make sure you are not being taken for a ride.
It is challenging being independent Audiologists in small private practices to get our voices heard. What is an independnet Audiologist, you may be asking? We are smaller private clinics that are not owned by hearing aid manufacturers and have no specific financial incentive to fit one brand of hearing aid over another. This means we are able to match you with the make and model of hearing aids that best fits your hearing needs.
We often find out what is happening in the larger marketplace by what our clients tell us… White label hearing aids seem to be popping up everywhere.
White label hearing aids are branded by the name of the hearing clinic that fit them. The clinics involved tend to be large corporate chains.
As a small provider, it is really difficult for us to find out exactly which make and model these aids actually are…
What does this mean for the consumer?
There is a potential to make it more difficult to compare different hearing aid models and shop around… You don’t exactly know what you are being quoted on. That is part of the strategy. You can’t just get a quote and then come to a clinic like ours to compare pricing cause we have no idea the exact make and model that you have been quoted on.
Confounding this is the emerging trend for large overseas owned clinics to bulk purchase old hearing aid technology from overseas distributors…these devices are no longer available to local smaller clinics like ours as they are not even sourced from Australian manufacturing representatives. We often cannot even provide you with a quote as we can’t even get these run-out models in anymore.
There is nothing wrong with getting run-out models of hearing aids at cheaper prices but you need to be aware that you are making that decision for yourself. The problem arises when old technology is being advertised as a cheaper alternative to the latest technology without telling the consumer.
They are often not priced that much cheaper either. But, again, it is hard for us to advice you properly on pricing as we are in the dark as much as you are.
It is like comparing apples and oranges when someone comes for a second opinion for a quote on White Label hearing aids as we are as much in the dark as you are…
You also have to think about long term servicing of your hearing aids as well. It is not always just about getting the best price, although that is important. What if you purchase one of these white label hearing aids and decide you are not happy with the service and want to see a more experienced clinician?
As clinicians, we often have to jump through hoops to get access to get the dedicated software to be able to adjust those hearing aids for you. Often, there is a delay for these companies sending out cables and software. It is all designed to make it hard for the consumer to go to a different provider.
Be savvy, ask questions! Getting a hearing aid is a lot like buying a car. It is a long term investment, make sure you know what is really under the bonnet?
How will the device be serviced and tuned up for years to come? It pays to shop around and support local.
Ability Hearing and Balance is an independent, Tasmanian owned hearing clinic located across Tasmania. We fit all brands of hearing aids and pride ourselves on transparency and integrity. Our pricing is often thousands of dollars cheaper than the big chains so consider supporting a local small business. We value you as individuals. Contact us on 1300 EAR PRO (1300 327 776) to see why our clients choose to trust us with their hearing needs.