Why does it feel like Audiologists/Dispensers/Manufacturers are ripping me off?


A few questions to ponder:

Private practice audiologists/dispensers insist on selling their products with a $5000 markup. I have seen the manufacturer’s invoices. Where is the justification?

Hearing Aid Manufacturers own the majority of clinics but continue to sell their products for ~$7000. How can this be? There is literally no middle-man.



First it’s called GREED. Second because they can. Third is many people have health insurance that covers part/all of the cost. They are totally overpriced. Case in point, Costco sells aids for $1599. True some of the features are not there as with the brand name. The new Philips are $2700 [rechargeable] which is roughly half of what private Audi’s charge. Philips will be sold only by Costco, as the new brand was created for Costco by Oticon. That’s Clout.



I was talking to my Audi at the VA about private practice. He is a doctor of audiology and he said he makes more work for the VA system then he could make having his on practice. He said the cost of the equipment and a place to set up his practice plus all of the other cost just made it impractical. Plus if he stays with the VA long enough the VA will pay him back for his degrees. And he gets continuing education paid for by the VA.



Watch the video on YouTube by Dr. Cliff Olson “3 Lies of the Hearing Aid Industry” (as one includes price.) I think you can google that to get the video. He has over 100 videos and he is good!



One the other hand be careful of Dr. Olson’s review of Costco aids. It is pretty bias against Costco. I wonder why?



The audiologist at my Costco told me she’s happier working for Costco than she was in a private practice because she no longer feels like a used car salesman. I didn’t quiz her on further details but assumed she worked in an established practice and maybe it was on commission.

I originally went to Costco (after one discouraging experience at a private clinic) when my regular doctor told me of his patients who wear hearing aids, those who got them from Costco were the most satisfied. I’ve wondered if this is in part due to if something isn’t perfect but you don’t feel robbed over it, you’re aren’t as p.o.‘d. I’m pretty content with my Rexton Trax 42s, but if I’d paid $7,000 for them, some of the things I wish were better, like being able to understand someone trying to talk to me from 20’ away, might annoy me more.



Costco does not work on commission. Most other practices do.



If I recall correctly there are at least five Costco stores in the Phoenix area, not far from Dr. Cliff’s practice. Personally, I like his videos and I think he is an okay guy. Just saying.



Hearing aids are sold like medical devices instead of electronic devices. With medical things, the idea is to convince the buyer that their health is worth whatever they have to pay. “What is good hearing worth to you?” So, they charge what the market will bear. It has nothing to do with the actual cost of manufacturing the aids themselves. As long as aids are marketed like medical devices, requiring a professional to be involved, it will remain that way. I do my own programming and don’t trust anyone else to understand my hearing needs. The two times I have had professional fittings, they didn’t actually help my hearing problem. Obviously, you can’t install and program a pacemaker for your heart, but I am not going to die because I do my own hearing aid fitting.