Visiting the Audiologist is like going to a car dealership?

Costco’s policy is to do REM, unfortunately not all their fitters do REM. This has been my personal experience.

My Costco only started doing REM on my hearing after I specifically requested it, but now routinely for me without request, which I appreciate.

It pays to be an informed consumer!

1 Like

I think it sounds like a great idea for customers.

1 Like

Here is why I think it is a bad idea at this particular point in the history of our industy.

The average person getting a hearing test for, according to the studies done on the topic, for eight years after they begin to notice issues with their hearing. When you combine a hearing system that has been declining for 8 to 15 years, with all of the promises that manufacturers make about their products, it leaves a lot of room for dissatisfaction.

So a person buys hearing aids from a manufacturer, no fitting professional, no one to hold their hand through all the tinny, scratchy, loud sounds that they hear during the first few days or weeks of wearing hearing aids, they will throw in the towel and send the aids back, and put off doing anything else about their hearing for another 5, 8, or 10 years, during which time their hearing is declining further, giving them less chance of success than when they started years earlier.

The value of getting hearing aids from a high quality, seasoned professional is not in the hearing aids, but in the counseling, guidance, and understanding the patient’s complaints and how to adjust for them, and walk them through the process.

Not to mention that the independent dispenser is largely responsible for the success of the manufacturers, and going direct to the consumer is sort of kicking those who helped you become a giant in the industry to the curb.

6 Likes

There is also the value of “fledgling” professionals learning from those with more experience. Compassion can’t be taught from a book, but I think a little of it might be absorbed from repeated exposure. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve been wearing hearing aids for over 35 years. I noticed the decline in college, got hearing aids in my 30’s. Never, have I received much more than basic routine care, with some problem solving if I complain about something. Maybe I haven’t been lucky, maybe I am not demanding enough. Over time, I have been reading and learning on sites like this one, so now, I can ask more and advocate for myself better. My husband gets his from the VA, in general there is one follow up visit, and then up to you to ask for more help. That is my experience also in the community. Most of the elderly population isn’t going to need or want a whole lot of follow up. I am more demanding now, I still work, and want accessories and phone, theaters, and TV . My husband wants to tinker with NOTHING. Doesn’t even want any programs. My providers appear to know less than I and we usually wind up on the phone with Resound tech support. So, if I could I’d hook up with them and have them tinker. They are the only ones that know what they are doing. give them virtual control over my hearing aids, and I’d be happy as a clam. That is how the computer tech people work now. They just take virtual control and fix the blinking machine.

4 Likes

I deleted my original reply and multiple updates so I could post this. I learned that my Au D of the past 3-4 years is no longer practicing at the clinic where I’ve been going since I started wearing aids 20+ years ago. Instead, they have an HIS now. I’m leery of this change. However, to be fair, I’m leery of any change.
But I decided she deserved a chance–It took a month for it to come about, but I will be picking up my latest HAs tomorrow. I am also hoping to get the firmware update for my current Marvels and have my backups “tweaked” to fit my new prescription.

I’m trialing a pair of Marvel 90’s right now. And the price this aud practice wants is $1500 more than another aud practice I checked with. So don’t tell me there isn’t a ridiculous profit margin in HA’s. I don’t have a problem with a business making money…but gouging people, especially older people just pisses me off. I’m lucky that my insurance will pickup a large portion of my cost. The repeated nonsense about overhead, return visits, etc. is a worn out excuse. Hopefully in the near future the research being done with gene therapy will yield a treatment that will restore the damaged cochlea in our ears…but we’ll probably get charged out the wazoo for that as well…:slight_smile:

1 Like

My experience between an audiologist and a used car salesmen is that all used car salesmen are crooks. They always try to get you to pay the most money. Whereas there are audiologist out there that actually care. Where I find them to be equal is if I don’t trust either of them I get up and walk away

Ok, so I guess this is a high-tech version of talking to myself. But talking to myself is better than talking to someone who isn’t there right? :upside_down_face:
Anyway–I met with the new HIS and picked up the new hearing aids yesterday; there are some issues with streaming, but I think we’ll be able to work 'em out. She was able to adjust both old and new aids to fit my current prescription as well as installing the firmware update to the old ones.
We had a discussion about my concerns regarding apparent symptoms of Meniere’s Disease that I have been experiencing and I was impressed with her knowledge regarding the condition. I left the office feeling quite relieved on that score; however, I still plan to keep the appointment with my ENT next month. My next meeting with HIS will be after that.
At this point, I’m thinking we’ll do ok as long as I keep both ENT and HIS in the LOOP :smiling_imp:

I have worked with HIS that do as good as the best audiologists I have worked with. I have also worked with some that I would not send my worst relation to. I have also worked with audiologists that do fantastic jobs and others I would never recommend someone go to. There are great and terrible in both disciplines, use your head and your gut feeling and if it does not feel right, go elsewhere. The fact that it is an AuD, MS, MA or HIS has no real bearing on the outcome, it is the person you are dealing with determines your level of satisfaction.

9 Likes

It’s almost as if there are differently skilled people, with their own individual personalities, in the world in most any field you can name :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Of course brick and mortar stores will be more expensive as Costco doesn’t have significant operating costs. The clinics are part of the store, the fitters/ audies are not paid on commission.

Ditto on funeral parlors (IMHO). Ever ever seen the old movie 'The American Way of Death?

I had a follow-up visit with my ENT yesterday. Looks like I might be having another surgery to repair my right eardrum (again). Likely it would improve my hearing; might have some influence on the bouts of vertigo as well. He did say that the surgery is “elective” and isn’t really pressuring me to do it. I’ll see him again in about 6 mos. I like the idea of hearing better, but I’m not so keen on having another surgical repair–the fact that the hole hasn’t healed on its own in more than a year is somewhat daunting in itself.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with my new HIS to sign off the paperwork for the new aids. Maybe she’ll have some insight on the situation.

Love to see some numbers or a citation for that. I ran my own business (not audiology) for 17 years and I can tell you that 1 or 2 hearing aid sales would not even come close - even without factoring in COGS. At say $7000 a pair (which most people here seem to feel is excessive) 2 pair would not even cover the monthly rent some places, and that is figuring the Audi did not have to pay for the devices they sold.

Jim

When I figured my breakeven point in my practice, I needed 14 hearing aids before I had anything to spend on non-essentials, and this was a small “Mom and Pop shop” where I owned the building and did not have a big rent payment. If you think 1 or 2 sets (2 - 4 instruments) will cover expenses, you need a severe wake up call. If it were that profitable, there would not be so many practices going out of business or having to sell out to large chains. There would also not be a shortage of practitioners like we have now and will be even worse as old farts like me get even older. Misinformation like this hurts both the industry and the consumer. Please check your facts before posting this type of message.

3 Likes

My audiologist has been letting me trial different aids for months now and so far hasn’t made a dime yet. And may not after all is said and done. To say I’m grateful is to put it mildly but he can’t feed his family with grateful.

1 Like

There is a plethora of confusion about getting the right hearing aids mostly abetted by unprofessional and unethical practices and the lure of kickbacks. There appears to be a web of kickbacks unbeknown to the suffering hearing impaired. The hearing aids are way over priced and there is no check. Perhaps what is needed is more competition to drive the prices below the greed level.

I would say much worse than car dealership experience, I would reckon! And multiply all this rot by a factor of at least 2 and you are in place like India!