Hearing Tracker Helps Consumers Find Affordable Hearing Aids


#1

Hearing Tracker has launched the first hyper-local online service to connect hearing aid shoppers with affordable local hearing aid fittings —now available throughout the United States.

The new service allows audiologists and hearing aid dispensers to offer discounted hearing aid bundles directly to consumers in their neighborhoods. All offers are standardized so that consumers can easily see and understand the included services, product warranties, and pricing for each and every hearing aid bundle.

“One of the biggest challenges facing people with hearing loss is insufficient information about local products, services, and pricing,” said Hearing Tracker founder Abram Bailey, AuD. “Consumers want to know what products and services they are paying for, and how much it’s going to cost—and up until now, this information has not been readily available.”

World’s Most Comprehensive Database of Hearing Products and Providers

More than 200,000 people visit the HearingTracker.com every month to find information about hearing aids and local hearing healthcare services. The website provides the world’s most comprehensive and up-to-date database of hearing aids, with detailed feature descriptions and cross-model comparisons. Hearing Tracker also publishes a directory of thousands of hearing care providers, which provides details about each provider’s services, qualifications, educational background, and even what brands of hearing aids they fit.

And now, by visiting Local Hearing Aid Deals, visitors will see offers from hearing care practices within a few miles of their homes. Dr. Bailey compared the new service to the car-shopping comparison sites that have made the process of buying a car more transparent in recent years. "In the past, there was no easy way to compare products, prices, and services available from local independent retailers. Now, consumers have all the information they need to make an informed decision about purchasing hearing aids.”

“Consumers will benefit from the increased price transparency, and retailers will capture more of the online shoppers that have increasingly been siphoned off by third-party discounters," said Dr. Bailey, who emphasized that the new Local Hearing Aid Deals platform is designed to eliminate the expensive middle-man in the transaction. “In bypassing online discounters, local clinics can afford to offer deeper discounts and still make a profitable sale.”

From Ground Zero

For consumers starting from ground zero, Hearing Tracker recommends its new Personalized Hearing Aid Match tool. After taking a 3-minute survey, consumers receive a list of hearing aids that are likely to alleviate their hearing problems and meet their wireless streaming and device preferences. The tool helps to educate consumers by explaining how each hearing aid feature may benefit them, and links consumers to local deals for the product matches.

“For the first time, consumers frustrated by their hearing loss have all the information they need at their fingertips, when and where they need it most,” Dr. Bailey said. “And now Hearing Tracker gives them easy, immediate access to qualified local professionals who can get them on the road to better hearing right away. Consumers can even narrow their search to include only hearing aids fitted by a Doctor of Audiology using Real-Ear Measurements, a gold-standard objective measurement used to ensure maximum benefit.”

About Hearing Tracker

HearingTracker.com is the leading independent resource for informed hearing aid consumers . The website provides the world’s largest database of customer-reviewed hearing products and hearing care providers. Hearing Tracker also hosts the world’s most active hearing aid forum and publishes a regular stream of news related to hearing aids, hearing technology, and the hearing industry.


#2

#3

Could this great exercise in transparency take place in Canada?


#4

We plan to take this international :slight_smile:


#5

David Copithorne, Abram Bailey:

  1. This is a great idea.
  2. You’re doing it wrong for those of us who don’t live near a big city but still would like an AuD to do a fitting for aids that don’t cost $6k+ per pair.

I live in a relatively–I wouldn’t say rural… but I would say relatively low-population-density area–compared to most Americans. Choices are limited here. I’m used to having to travel for specialized needs like hearing help. So the issue is that when I go to this website, it keys in on my zip code for my registered user name and immediately responds, “There are currently no matching deals close to [your town].”

Okay, but give me the option to widen my search beyond your assumptions or at least see where the closest deal is. If it’s 500 miles away, okay, then I know that at least for now, this isn’t for me. But you’re shutting me out from seeing what’s available. And chances are good that there is something available within 100-200 miles that I might consider.

Or I can forgo the AuD and just go to Costco 75 miles away, or buy used aids on eBay programmed by somebody else on eBay… which I know you hate / My Cousin Vinny reference.


#6

I like the options to check REM performed at fitting and Doctor of Audiology available. Perhaps another option that would be helpful would be “years in business” and/or links to state databases on professional licensing. I remember being impressed looking my wife up in the Texas Board of Medicine database and was impressed by the amount of background info that they had on her whereas looking up an old friend in the State of Pennsylvania MD licensing database there was comparatively little info. I think more info on skill/history level of clinic would be helpful as well as where to get the best price. If your service becomes as popular and useful as you (we all) hope, that might be a strong incentive not only for the providers to offer great competitive prices but also to provide skill/experience history as part of the offering. Don’t know whether it means much but my Honda dealership makes a point of posting mechanic skills update certificates on the service room walls. Perhaps if HA OEM’s offered “Marvel-certified” or “Quattro-certified” or “Opn, Widex, etc. certified,” one could know that the provider was certified to be competent in fitting the latest and the greatest. The closest thing that I know of is the American Board of Internal Medicine. After passing an initial exam, to maintain your board certification in Internal Medicine, besides “CEU’s,” one of the following is required:

"Pass an assessment:

  • Pass the MOC Exam within ten (10) years of when you last passed.
    —OR—
  • Take a Knowledge Check-In every two (2) years, remaining on a successful path."

It would be nice (but probably quite an economic dead anchor weight) if similar were required for other health care providers.

https://knowledgeplus.nejm.org/products/abim-moc-requirements/


#7

I tried this today, signed up. It took about 2 hours to get a call about the Marvel deal, from an audiologist over 250 miles away! I am 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean, 150 miles north of Los Angeles, 150 miles south of San Francisco. The call I got was from a clinic another 100 miles north of San Francisco. So much for “hyper-local”. :eyes:


#8

I guess hearing aid providers are like ISP providers and M.D.'s. It takes a large population to support high-tech, highly paid providers and probably HA providers, ISP providers, and M.D.'s have a tough time support their practices, companies, far away from population centers in more distant surburban and rural areas.


#9

I just looked at the page again, it shows that clinic being 29.1 miles away.


#10

The IP-based geolocation works well from desktop computers 99% of the time. The reliability is poorer when using a mobile phone, due to the way in which IP addresses are assigned by cellular networks, etc. We provide two overrides for visitors to correct their location, should the IP geolocation get it wrong…

  1. Browser-based geolocation
  2. Manual location entry with Google autocomplete

The hyper-local part works as well as technologically possible, but we still ultimately rely on the user to check the displayed location to ensure the reference from which we calculate their distance is accurate. Having said all that, we’ll try to make that more obvious, since you’ve proved it can be missed :wink:


#11

Great feedback. We plan to launch a vetting system in October to bring even more value to this platform. Currently, there are no audiological vetting programs in the USA.


#12

This is actually our plan! It’s in our Dev pipeline right now! In the meantime, you may key in any address or town and see deals within 50 miles of that location.


#13

re: Dev pipeline to let users broaden the search by distance

Thanks! I thought I tried doing what you suggested when the press release hit the web, and it seemed the only way to do it then was to change my hometown for my user profile, which was way too much work to save thousands of dollars /jk/, but I did do what you suggested just now.

Interestingly the major metro area within 100 miles of me had zero offers but the major metro area within 200 miles of me (about the same size population-wise) had half-a-dozen offers for different brands. None of them were within my price range, though some came close, and I do see that some of the models I know represent truly discounted prices.

We’re early in the process. If this works as a win-win process for audis and patients, other clnics will jump on board or bid even more aggressively.


#14

This is really the first truly open market for hearing aid prices, so I’m sure it will lead to some new market efficiencies… not only better pricing, but (more importantly for me) better service. I’m sure there will be a sweet spot for price and service, where consumers are willing to pay a little more for gold-standard care… My gut feel is that most hearing aid consumers care about the whole package, not just rock-bottom prices.

Regarding pricing, here’s some food for thought… In the hearing aid world the “cost of acquisition” is very high … and this has to do with the scattershot approach of trying to bring in “early funnel” people who need hearing checks, and may need hearing aids etc. Basically, bringing all those “maybes” in costs a lot of money for the practice in terms of marketing spend, and anyone coming in off one of these deals is much less a “maybe” … this means they can save money on inefficient marketing and lower their product / service cost. This is one of the market efficiencies I’m referring to.


#15

On cost efficiency, though, how much of a difference in overhead does it make for the single-practice audi to get a HA from one of the big 5 vs. an operation like TruHearing that supposedly gets wholesale pricing? If the cost of HA’s for the sole practitioner is a lot higher than for a big distributor, then I would think as you say that the differentiating, reason-to-use the Hearing Tracker Find-a-Deal service would be the vetting that might come with the service as well as possibly additional feedback about a local provider from Hearing Tracker members you trust (or can look up the wisdom of past comments, # of Likes, etc. - to judge quality of advice, kinda like Amazon reviews and reviewers).


#16

This sounds like a great new feature, @abram_bailey_aud. Now, if you could just get some university and healthcare system-based audiologists to participate in this marketing/competitive pricing program, that would be ideal! It would possibly drive more competitive pricing and better clinical services for patients who do not have hearing aid coverage via commerrcial insurance or Medicare plans. The university and healthcare system-based audiology practices I’ve visited base their pricing on bundled clinical services and hearing aid technology levels, and there is no room for price negotiation. Maybe your program will help change this practice.