I’d say that the more highly qualified you are, the more likely you are to be paid a higher salary simply for showing up at work. The lower your qualifications, the more they are looking to see results in the form of sales. And if you produce said sales, a reward will show up in your pay check.
If you are talking about the run of the mill hearing professional working for ‘the man’ running an office, they are likely to be paid a salary along with a bonus based on how much money they are making for the aforementioned ‘man.’
If you own your own practice, your income is going to vary wildly like any small business. If you do it badly you’ll be struggling to pay your secretary or keep the lights on. If you do it really well, you could be hitting $100K+. Of course the risk factor if you own your own business is much higher. If you run a big $20,000 marketing campaign and the phone never rings, guess who pays for that?
I’d suggest that if we exclude audiologists who are not just doctors but noted experts in their field, the hearing professionals who make the most money are probably those who own a chain of hearing aid clinics. That way, if they have a good team, they can weather the storm of bad months, or one of their stores doing badly. And if they are well established with a good reputation, so much the better.
But it’s really hard to answer your question because the pay is going to vary by experience, qualifications, region, income generation (for the company), sales, ASP, profit margins of the clinic, sales opportunities generated by the hearing professional, and sales opportunities generated by the business owner, conversion rate, business model of the employer, special agreements negotiated (such as getting a sign on bonus), wholesale prices and much more.
Out of interest I just ran the search term ‘audiologist’ through salary.com for Austin, Texas. A location I picked at random, but one that is probably going to fare a shade better than Anytown, Anywhere. The median salary is $65K with the top 10% earning over $77K, and the bottom 10% earning below $54K.
That site is geared more towards employees rather than the self employed.
As for your other question, there is no doubt that you will command a better income if you can generate sales. Employers have to advertise to get patients to show up. If the employer runs a $5,000 newspaper ad that results in 20 patients visiting the clinic, it has cost (in simple math) $250 to have that patient sit in that seat opposite the hearing professional.
If a hearing professional converts one in 20 into a sale, they have effectively squandered $4750 in advertising revenue. If they can convert 10 out of 20, so much the better. The higher the conversion rate, the happier the business owner.
The same business owner is also going to be happier if the average sales price is $5000 as opposed to $1000.
So a typical employer is clearly hoping for a qualified, responsible, trustworthy nice person, with a license, a good work ethic and all the other usual stuff. But beyond that he is hoping for a high conversion rate, a high sales price, a low return rate, no complaints, and reasonable profitability for the clinic. If he gets all these things, he is likely to see to it that his employee makes decent money.