In the Mojo story that I mentioned above, Mr. John Frank tells his story of his experience with starkey (please read the article) Link in #1 post) He was able to make a $39. hearing aid that could be sold to audiologist for $149, they could then sell them for $499, a mark up of $300 per aid. What is happening today is that, hearing aid consumers have information that was no available in the past. One example, you can Google “why hearing aids cost so much?” and you will find many articles that are fully documented and some from people in the hearing aid industry that will tell you that the hearing aid market is plain and simple “taking advantage of people in need”. The founder of ihear, Adnan Shennib is an insider and sold his company for 169 millions. He has the knowledge and resources to build another company making high end hearing aids, but has decided that he wants to help people and in the process change the way the hearing aid industry operates.
It is people like Him, visionaries who think outside the box who are able change the world. There are many books written about companies that refused to listen to consumers and as the market changed they died. IBM and polaroid just to mention a couple. According to many reports the big six (6) hearing aids companies will not dominate the market in the near future unless they change their ways.
Highly trained audiologist will have a job even if the market changes, but they will have to share their job with other less trained technicians, it is already happening at Costco who is training their own technicians. Audiologist pay and job security will not be what it is today. People who have severe and hearing loss will probably be the ones that will see the Doctors of Aud. Moderate to high hearing loss will probably benefit the most from the changing technology in the near future.
Motorcade gave a good argument of why in the real world a $200 hearing aid will not be possible. In the circumstances that he presented he would loose money. Audiologist are not alone, many businesses have changed their ways in order to stay afloat and while a $200 aid may not be possible, perhaps a top of the line $500 aid, plus fee per visit may be the answer that can help both Audiologist and consumers.