A Rock and a Hard Place!

Firstly my aim of this thread is not to piss off all you excellent Audiologist on this forum whom give their time freely with some brilliant advice, but I have always been a bit of a rebel… And some things should be said!

I think when you join the ranks of the HOH world, tis a massive learning curve; nothing quite preps you for it!

The hearing world are mostly oblivious to our plight, they see a pair hearing aids and assume we can now hear again, you become the butt-end of all your so called friends jokes, people talk about you as if you are not there, especially professionals! Some people totally exclude you from the conversation and slowly every bit of confidence you ever had is eroded over time… It takes a very long time to come to terms with a hearing loss and my confidence has now returned, I’m totally at ease and proud to be HOH, I take no shit from anyone!!!

Mostly we HOH, are stuck between a rock and a hard place, we suffer injustice every day, we endure discrimination in all its facets, be that work, promotion, or just going to see a movie, etc’!

And last but not least, there are many Audiologist out there (BUT NOT ALL) in the big wide world whose sole aim is to fleece every last penny/cent out off a disabled person, whom mostly through no fault of their own are HOH, yet a 400% mark on price seems to be the norm for a set of top end HA’s! But here is the rub, because we are HOH, then there is a strong possibility we will not have a great paying job even if we are qualified to do one, employers just don’t take us on and hence we can’t afford to buy the better aids unless we put ourselves in debt…

Your thoughts, Cheers Kev

Someone hasn’t been getting enough sleep these holiday seasons…

Hey, we all hear you. There are tons of adversities hitting many different types of people. And yes, it rots.
I’m not sure if you live in the States or elsewhere. I live in NJ. There are programs available to assist HOH people (as well as other types of assistance). They can provide up to 100% assistance for hearing aids.

It really is amazing how insurance policies always exclude hearing aids. But a wheelchair is ok. Crutches, etc.
However, NJ implemented a law that children must be covered for hearing aids under the policy. That’s great as well.

Be strong – include yourself in the conversation. They may think you exclude yourself as well. I don’t know the situation but I DO KNOW how FRUSTRATING this can be. Push through the bullshit. You can’t change what you can’t change. But what you CAN. You CAN!

Best of Luck…. Let us know how we can help with any answers or guidance.

May 2011 be incredible for us all.

A lot of what you say is true but it is also true for anyone else with a handicap. Changes are coming but changes occur slowly because the majority of the world doesn’t have to deal with the shortcomings of others, and consequently aren’t concerned with them. I have heard time and time again from people with newborns with hearing problems how they never realised how involved a hearing loss could be. Still there’s no excuse for people being rude although if you think about it remember back in grade school the kids that were singled out because they were different. Now as an adult it’s okay to speak up and let people understand that they are being rude. The question is is it worth it? Be strong, stand up for yourself, support HOH advocacy groups, walk out on the Audi you think may be trying to rip you off. There are always going to be situations where your loss will prevent you from doing the things you would like to be doing. I recently went to a wedding where the music was blasting so I was all but lost. But you appreciate the people who know you are struggling and take the time to come over and sit down and try to talk to you knowing you are having a hard time communicating. It’s life. You just have to deal with it.

Yeah MAJ & Hask12, I understand what you are saying and agree with most of your sentiments, someone once wrote these poignant words;

“God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference”

Funny enough, I was talking to my wife last night when the subject of me being rude came up from the week before and how I should not treat others the way they treat me… I should be above that! BTW my wife is a specialist social worker of some 25 years standing, although she has perfect hearing, she can and does use BSL daily (British Sign Language) and works with deaf services here in the Scottish Highlands (UK) Anyway, my rudeness came about when I was repairing a laptop with a very stuborn virus, the laptop did belong to my stepson (I bought it for his 21st birthday 2 years ago) he was killed in a freak road accident around this time last year! I had given it to his sister and wanted to keep it intact, but I was well aware and very annoyed I was going to have to save what I could and reformat! At this point my daughter (from my first marriage) and her husband called into see us, I was talking to them but still kinda engrossed in what I was doing with the lappy, suffice to say after they left I had a severe flea in the ear from my wife whom was none too impressed with my downright rude behaviour! I admitted I was wrong, although this type of behaviour would never be the norm for me! I pointed out that if I visit any friends or family, none of them switch the TV off or turn down the volume and everyone of them is acutely aware of my loss! She said I should educate them, lord I have tried with every single one of them, it does not seem to register and it is not my place to tell people what to do in their own home! I also pointed out that in her own job when I worked their we had around 15 Support Workers and we had regular meetings, these SW were highly educated in communication tactics with HOH and Profoundly Deaf, but this went out the window at meetings, they sounded like a “Gaggle of Geese” to me, each with their own opinion and wanting to be heard above each other, order would be called for with a reminder that there were HOH present, it made not a blind bit of difference as five minutes later we would be back to the Gaggle of Geese… Tis human nature to disregard everyone else with a problem and get your own point across, such is life!

Cheers Kev:D

Have you been quoted £10,000 for a pair of instruments then?

Not yet Um bongo:D

So you are telling me you pay £2k for a pair of Phonak Ambra’s then and resell them around £5k then?

Cheers, Kev:D

You said there was a 400% mark up. Assuming each aid costs £1000, a 100% mark-up would equate to a selling price of £2000, and a 400% mark-up would be £5000 each.

I’m not here to discuss my prices, but I can tell you I have never sold a pair of instruments for over £4000 and it’s usually a lot less than that.

I’m not getting at you Um bongo, you seem to take umbrage at the mention of over inflated HA’s prices as a slight on your profession… Lighten up, I have no axe to grind with you:D

People assume many things, myself included, 400% + might be a wee bit OTT! I tend to shop around and check prices right across the net, be that here or in the USA, tis easy to calculate and in general we pay through the nose here in the UK! Now I’m only assuming some of the top hearing aid dispensers here in the UK pay around £500 per aid for a top end instument, they have the buying power, so no doubt they will get an excellent deal, that’s not to say you have that type of buying power Um bongo! But say you pay £800 per aid (£1600 the pair) and sell around £4k for the pair, after your time, molds, fitting, rates, equipment and staff, tis still a good profit margin, tis likely your mark up is around 80%, not quite in the league with the big boys who’s margins will be double if not treble that?

Lastly, here is a wee quote from a couple of years back on this site, from one of your own professionals; Please note the 1000% markup!

As a hearing professional who has moved onto our own small hearing dispenser practice AFTER working for the corporate machines, I am well qualified to say, that the WalMart stores are contracting Miracle Ear ( Amplifon) dealers to come into their stores, and have been doing so for some time now, here in Indiana for at least three years or more.
Same with Sears Hearing Aid Centers.

These are not the discounted hearing aid dealers that you would think a store like WM would contract with, but, instead, the same old song and dance.
How do I know? I worked for ME and covered a WM store shortly before I left the corporate WH ( I’ll give the translation if requested, but it sounds a LOT like more-house) due to these very types of set ups.
Yet, people are trained into thinking that they are not capable of hearing better until they spend thousands of dollars. EVEN AT A WALMART ???

I’m quite over it, and I guess I will be known as the "anti-dealer-dealer"by saying so, but wow, when does it ever end???
No wonder I went out on my own, and no wonder we sell so many items online! People are tired ( I think!) of being ripped off over and over.
Say what you will…they have LEFT the local office without help, without opportunity, and without options. What a crock.

Justify it however you like, a rip is a rip. Well, it should be interesting to now watch the justifications begin on the forum next. But frankly, I hope someone else has the cahoonies to tell the truth as well, if not , looks like I’m on my own.

I know the lingo that’s coming from the justifiers…bundle, don’t bundle. Service, no service. Paid for our time, work and help people for free.
100.00- 200.00 per hearing aid is great, when you sell hundreds. And guess what…more people are getting help!
On the higher end stuff, more can be justified, if more is required. Still…1000% is a healthy markup…think???
And yes, because I know some goof here is going to say these exact words…" I bet you don’t make 200.00 when they buy in your office!"
Guess what…wrong. Dead wrong.

Where does the heart stand in this business? I always tell my kids…what really matters, is where your heart is when you try, when you do things.

Ok, I feel better now. Thanks ! What a week !

Firstly 1000% only relates to the raw materials cost of product that was made, distributed and dispensed by the same company. It’s a damn sight less than you pay on software and a bit more than you pay on other consumer items. Reason being your hearing aids aren’t a mass market product in the same way that bluetooth headsets are.

Second. Do you understand Keynes’ Demand Model? It states that the conditions of the market and level of custom dictate the level of supply- not the other way around. If there was a market for £200 hearing aids it would be met: however there either isn’t or it doesn’t sufficiently segregate itself from ‘off the shelf’ products. Therefore it doessn’t exist. Furthermore in the UK this market is screwed at the bottom end by the supply of zero-priced product, which means that there’s no point in dispensers offering a cheap simple BTE at entry level: because you can get one free on the NHS.

Thirdly, the current pricing model has much to do with Lars Kolind and his ideas about the perception of quality in hearing instruments. He doubled the price of top-end products while making Oticon grow to be one of the best companies out there. People aspire to more expensive product that offers them more (something) over other items. Just look at Apple.

You might not have an axe to grind with me, but you are having a dig at MY business: calling people ‘rip-offs’ without either having a handle on your local supply price, cost of doing business in your area or any meaningful understanding of the whole market is quite frankly a bit rich.

You can knock the model all you like, but unfortunately due to the fickle nature of consumers and price elasticity/demand we get the kind of market we deserve; which is nobody’s fault.

Hi Um bongo, thank you for your interesting comments!

Lets state a few facts here, but firstly I can say without fear or favour, I never pay for any software, well not in the last 5 years or more, I don’t believe in helping out M$, Bill Gates has got more money than he could ever spend:D:D:D

You choose to work within an uneven playing field with the NHS supplying HA’s free gratis! Just like I choose to live in the Scottish Highlands knowing full well that certain services would be limited to me… but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, takes me 20 minutes to drive 15 miles to work each day and no traffic jams:D I fish for mainly trout, I’m spoiled for choice on that front and its mainly free! I get up every day to a spectacular view of sea and mountains, the air is clean, the natives are friendly and life for the main part is good:D

Im not interested in Keynes’ Demand Model nor would I ever want to be, I understand about supply and demand though and how you are severely impeded by the NHS, but hey, not everyone can afford these high priced instruments, much as they would like to, but their income and family expenditure puts a severe strain on what they can spend, but such is life!

Quote; “You might not have an axe to grind with me, but you are having a dig at MY business: calling people ‘rip-offs’ without either having a handle on your local supply price, cost of doing business in your area or any meaningful understanding of the whole market is quite frankly a bit rich

I never called your “MY business” a rip off, I left that to a hearing professional from this site whom I quoted word for word!

Lastly, I find your rhetoric highly amusing, you try to defend the indefensible where I can find little or no moral high ground! The truth is that a lot of money is being made on the backs of disabled people, in especial hearing impaired, they do not always get the service they pay for and yes many do get ripped off, if the many stories via this site are anything to go bye? You may have a high ethical standing UM bongo, you may conduct your business with the utmost sincerity, with the deepest empathy and regard for your clients welfare, but very sadly your are not par for the course, far from it, too many other Audiologist/Dispensers spoil your image…

Take care, Cheers Kev:D

A 400% markup isn’t realistic. I have a set of Oticon Vigo Pro RITE aids that cost $4000 USD. A 400% markup would put the base cost at $10.

Personally, I’m glad that there has been so much research and development into devices to improve the lives of folks like us. Sure, there’s money being made by someone, but we reap benefits that don’t have real price tags.

Just my 4K worth…:slight_smile:


It’s not rhetoric, it’s an argument based on a business that exists in the frame work laid down by the legislature and the demand for hearing aids.

If you don’t want to understand the model, don’t complain about the costs. Unlike lots of professionals, we spend most of our time and effort attempting to improve the lives of the people who come to see us. Writing missives on here isn’t going to change that.

If you dislike the model and the market so intensely; try providing a CE marked hearing aid yourself with all the requisite software and back-up training. You’ll see it’s not such an easy thing to do.

Before this descends into further circular arguments and calling the industry a ‘rip-off’ again, that’s all I’m saying on the matter and ignoring future posts.

My apologies Um bongo, I do go off half cocked on the occasional tangent in especial when it concerns hearing impaired…SORRY!

Kindest regards, Kev:D

Well its a pity that HOH are not being treated as they deserve to be. These people must have low cost hearing aids and the government must help them by giving them a subsidy on treatment as well as hearing aids.

None taken, thanks.


Regards UB.

Albeit- sometimes on top of the head…

KevelS55: Yup - Discriminated against, though my loss is not as bad - it does happen and the minute people realize you wear hearing aids things change. My Dad had no legs from the knees down (Korea, after being 2nd team into Nagasaki after the bomb). Nothing stopped him. He became an accountant and auditor for the treasury department. Yea, in part because he was a veteran I’m sure… But the point is - Nothing stopped him. He built a deck onto the house - Cut the grass when us rotten kids wouldn’t. Climbed up a high dive with his hands - walked out on his hands - and dove off.

My point - Screw them. Yes, you’ll have to work harder - Tell that to the black man who has faced issues for years. Imagine the HOH Black man… Geez!

UmBongo - I do not think it was meant to attack you or your business. The reality of life is there are A$$holes in every line of work, right? Some spoil it for others.

We’re here for a purpose. Some to give help, some to get help. Let’s focus on the positive aspects and move on. Although we all enjoy a good square off once and a while…

Happy New Year.

PS - Kevels55 - You’re wife is right - Aren’t they always. Another wise sayings: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you!”.

It just seems we’re always the ones doing unto others while others crap all over us… Karma is a bitch – Leave it at that…

Enjoy life - you only get one!!

Try being legally blind, HOH, and 60!!!

I’ll never give up! :cool:


I never pay for any software, well not in the last 5 years or more, I don’t believe in helping out M$, Bill Gates has got more money than he could ever spend

… and you feel qualified to judge hearing aid suppliers as being dishonest etc? Huh?

I think he probably means that he uses free software such as Linux rather than Windows.

Hi ED, I’ve been waiting for this, so thank you! :smiley:

Well, I never said dispensers were dishonest, one of your own implied that! Nor have I said I’m whiter than the driven snow and to be very honest, I don’t care 2 monkeys on your opinion of me, tis a thing of nothing as I have no illusions about my persona:D It all depends on your of interpretation honesty ED? I can acquire mostly any type of software on the web, tis a hobby, I don’t do it for financial gain, I do just because I can, I will rebuild or upgrade any friends PC’s and I do install the odd OS on anyone’s puter, please note, “All free of charge”! There are also many free programs out there which are just as good if not better than the fee paying ones… Admittedly, tis not all quite above board, I reiterate none of the above is done for self gain!

There are millions upon millions of likeminded souls around the world, MP3’s, Hacked software, DivX movies, all doing the exact same thing on the scale you would not believe! These folk do this mainly because of M$ and others akin to their greed… if they charged a reasonable price, then folk would gladly pay, other like me do it just for the hell of it! Hmm, right, I forgot about software development costs I hear you say, aye my ars*! Tis greed, pure and simple! For instance when Vista came on the scene it was a shambles and never near ready or even close, but M$ released it anyway and the millions who bought it effectively just became Beta testers for M$ and when Win 7 came along shortly after on the backs of the fee paying Beta testers, did they get a free upgrade… No, they had to pay through the nose again! Not just that, when Win 7 first came on the market, you could buy the Ultimate version if you shopped around for about $160.00 in the States, here in the UK it was more like £300 = about $470.00, M$ put this down to shipping costs lol:D you tell me whom was getting robbed? Somehow, I don’t think I rate very highly in the dishonesty stakes?

Cheers, Kev:D