Are cheap hearing aids worth buying?
Are cheap hearing aids worth buying?
topic: Are cheap hearing aids worth buying?
The five main reasons that hearing aids cost so much.
cover a bunch of hearing-related information to help make you a better-informed consumer.
Hearing aids. Expensive, right? It’s been that way for decades. It seems crazy that these tiny little device that seem to perform very basic function, keep going up in price year over year. And every time you going to get a new pair, you seem like you’re paying more than you paid for your previous set. Well there’s actually some really good reasons why hearing aids cost what they cost, and I’m gonna cover those, right now.
Reason number one,
Research and development -Â
This is probably the majority of what hearing aid manufacturers are spending their money on and it amounts to millions upon millions of dollars each year .And this is to do things,not just create a smaller hearing aid,but a hearing aid that can do more things.
A hearing aid that has more functionality. That lets you function better in a noisy environment, in an environment that has an echo, in the car, in anywhere that you go, all of these different programs that hearing aids have ,they require a lot of research and development in order to make them work so seamlessly within your hearing aid and in those environments that you find yourself in.
Not only that, but being able to use Bluetooth Directly from a hearing aid to a smartphone, or to your TV, or to a variety of other electronic devices that have Bluetooth capability, and still be able to do it with the tiny little batteries that they have inside of the mis really quite amazing, and none of that could happen if they didn’t have enough funding to be able to conduct this research.
You got ta remember that these researchers and engineers that are hired by these hearing aid manufacturers, they’re not minimum wage jobs, these are high-paid jobs and individuals who are really coming up and conceptualizing and developing these new features inside of these hearing devices to make them function way better than they did,
you know, twenty, thirty years ago. It’s just really, it’s crazy to think what they can do with such a tiny little device and such a tiny little microchip to be able to help you perform better in a variety of situations, is quite amazing.
Reason number two is that hearing aids are
Not mass-market items
They are not like consumer electronics, like a smartphone, or a tablet, or a laptop. There is only a certain amount of hearing devices made each year.
And to kind of give you a comparison of a consumer electronic versus a durable piece of medical equipment like a hearing aid, is that the Apple iPhone, for instance, in 2016, they sold 211 million iPhones.
And compare that the the numbers of 2015with hearing aid sales, all of the hearing aid manufacturers together only sold about three million devices. When it comes right down to it, consumer electronic companies, they have the sheer volume of sales and quantity of items that they’re gonna make, that they can really drive down the production costs.
That is something that hearing aid manufacturers can’t do at only selling three million units a year. And when you think about the devices themselves, hearing aids,Â
for instance, they have to be customizable so you, as the end user, can actually get the precise benefit that you’re looking for with your hearing loss, versus, say like an iPhone, where one iPhone suit everybody exactly the same and you can download different apps, things like that, you can customize it yourself from that stand point, but Apple doesn’t care.
They are selling an iPhone That just came out a week ago for $1,200 and a hearing aid clinic barely able to get any premium level technology for that cost. And Apple’s selling it to you directly, and the hearing aid clinic is having to buy it at that cost from the manufacturer.
When you really start thinking about it, it’s crazy to think that an iPhone would cost as much as it does with that amount of volume of sales, whereas a hearing aid costs that little compared to its volume of sales.
Reason number three is
lack of competition
There are only six major hearing aid manufacturers in the world. Now there are some smaller manufacturers out there, but it seems like any time any one of them gets a little bit of traction, and starts to increase their sales,
they just get purchased or bought out by one of the major six manufacturers. And so when you actually start looking at the breakdown of who owns what, you’ll start to realize that, wow, these six manufacturers really control the whole space and any of these new startups that,
if they end up working for creating a product that is worthwhile, these major six manufacturers is just gonna purchase them or do something to essentially cut them out and take over their market share.
Reason number four is thatÂ
No direct to consumer hearing aids available yet
even though the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act was passed about a month ago,
your units. They’re not able to put as much research and development into it, and they will end up ultimately not being as competitive with the big six manufacturers from that standpoint.Â
Case in point is Doppler Labs. Doppler Labs had about$50 million in funding trying to make a direct to consumer hearable that provided amplification, and was something that you could wear to stream music and all of that, and they ended up going out of business about two weeks after the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act was passed.
And so if that’s any insight into how tough it will before a new startup to enter that space and actually create a product that works and works well, it’s gonna be really tough for these new companies.
Reasons number five that hearing aids are so expensive is thatÂ
you’re not just paying for the hearing aid.
You have to remember that when you go in and you buy hearing aids, and you get them customized to your hearing loss, and you receive all of that after care with that hearing aid to make sure that they’re performing as well as they can for as long as they can, you’re paying for the professional care of the individuals who are fitting that to you.
And so, yes, hearing aids in and of themselves costing thousands of dollars, that is expensive, but the reason they cost as much as they do is because a lot of clinics will bundle the cost of that professional care in with the cost of the devices.
So typically when you see that a hearing aid costs$4,000 or $3,500, that’s because the cost of the care associated to make that device work for you is bundled in with the cost of the device. Now if you don’t like the idea that hearing aids and services are bundled together, there are a lot more hearing aid clinics out there now that unbundle the costs of those.
So you pay for the hearing aids, you pay for your fitting, and then you pay as you go for what you need in the follow up. And that way, you’re not over-paying for things that you might not end up actually receiving. You also have to remember that these clinics that dispense hearing aids and fit them to you, it costs money to operate these facilities.
You know, they have rent, they have to keep the lights on, they have employees to pay, and ultimately at the end of the day, they have to turn a profit in order to keep their doors open so they can continue to serve individuals who are in your community.
When we really look at the cost of hearing aids over the last several decades, hearing aid prices have actually gone down when adjusted for inflation. I’m actually really looking forward to see how over the counter hearing aids impact the market as a whole.
I’m hoping that there are a couple startups who are able to create innovative enough products to keep up with the hearing aid industry, but time is only gonna tell from that standpoint and I don’t see it really happening before the next two or three years,
because of the FDA’s involvement with it. Now if you’re having trouble paying for hearing aids, there’s actually certain things that you do