I’m totally baffled and perturbed by the hearing aid industry and audiologists. I’ve just about had it. I recently interviewed two hearing aid companies: Oticon and Sonova Holding HG. You can read the interviews yourself at http://www.saywhatclub.com/newsletter/june09/interviewgw.html and the Sonova interview at: http://www.saywhatclub.com/newsletter/june09/interviewgf.html
In case you were not aware, Phonak and Unitron are under Sonova AG Holding. In anycase, I find it interesting that each company believes their product is number 1. What I find interesting are the questions that went unanswered and left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Why can’t hearing aid companies tell us how much it costs them to make a hearing aid? Afterall, we have a pretty good idea how much it costs to make a car, how much it costs to make a movie, a video, clothing, etc. Yet no one wants to be honest about the manufacturers cost.
The manufacturer claims the audiologist makes a big profit and the audiologist claims the company does. I now know the restocking fee is the audiologists, not the manufacturers fee, and in all honesty, the audiologist deserves that fee. Afterall, they are spending time with us for the fitting and the programming.
However, I don’t know how any company or audiologist can think that a $3000 hearing aid is worthy of its cost. We get a 45 day trial period, yet I am told that it can take up to 6 or 7 months to adjust to the sound. Duh! I am $3000 down if I hate the sound after 6 months. I wonder how many audiologists have stuck earplugs in their ears for 24 hours? How many manufacturers make their Executive Boards wear the earplugs just to get the sense of a 35 db loss?
I recently went to see a new audiologist and though I liked her alot, she was totally unsavvy concerning assistive technology. This is really not a good thing. Why aren’t the audiologists being trained to understand the clients who need this technology to function? Simple things like bluetooth technology and loop systems. I don’t know about you, but I am so frustrated, I want to just get the software to program my own hearing aid and purchase an aid online.