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Hearing Aid Prices and BIONET.AUDIOLOGY

Jeffrey Sirianni sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu
Sat May 27 13:55:20 EST 1995

I am sorry that I have taken so long to reply to my previous post
on this subject.  After some reflection time, I have formulated
my thoughts for your consideration.

BIONET.AUDIOLOGY is being cross-posted to the "deaf-l" newsgroup
for others to read.  This latter newsgroup consists mostly of
individuals with hearing loss and others interested in the deaf
community, including audiologists and deaf educators.  My feeling
is that non-audiologists might get the wrong idea when we discuss
our prices for hearing aids and the various options involved.

Any hearing aid comsumer might get the idea that audiologists make
too much of a profit from hearing aids.  If I knew that a camera
store made as much a profit from a camera sale than audiologists
make from a hearing aid sale, I would be pretty alarmed.  BUT there
are many reasons that our mark-up is as high as it is.  First consider
the fact that hearing aids are returnable within 30 days (in most
states) for a full refund (minus any fitting fee, in most clinics).
I am not sure of the average return rate (I am guessing 25%) but it
is extremely high compared to other items that can be purchased in
any store.  In addition, most audiologists include a 1 year no-charge
follow-up schedule, in which hearing aid consumers can return for
adjustments and help in the use of their aid.  This time costs money
for a clinic which dispensed the aid.  I encourage my patients to
return as often as they like concerning their hearing aid, and most
people are completely confortable within 6 months and often know more
about their aids after 1 year than I do.  As an audiologist, I feel
obligated to make every patient who purchases a hearing aid from our
office feel like I am there for them at any time.  It's called customer
service, and it makes the patient feel that they are not alone after
they walk out the door.  I doubt anyone has bought anything in the past
where someone says "Please come back if you have any problems... any
problems...".  Consider that the next time you buy a car, stereo equipment
or any electronics.  Our ability to make time to see hearing aid patients
is what justifies our mark-up.

I hope that readers agree with my feelings concerning discussion of prices
within the newsgroup.  It may be misleading to anyone who does not
understand what an audiologist does AFTER the sale.

Jeff Sirianni     @(((<{
University of Texas at Austin
Communication Sciences and Disorders
CMA, 2nd Floor Clinic
Austin, TX  78712-1089
sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu
jgsaudio at aol.com

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