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Hearing Aid Prices and BIONET.AUDIOLOGY

Eric Smith eric at Primenet.Com
Sun May 28 01:50:34 EST 1995

In article <3q7sio$b67 at geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>,
Jeffrey Sirianni <sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu> wrote:
>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.

The problem is that hearing aid and audiological services are
bundled inappropriately, causing the whole hearing aid industry to
be extremely wasteful.  The need for secrecy is a loud and clear
signal that something is not being done right.

Hearing aid customers tend to have medical insurance, but that
insurance usually won't pay for hearing aids.  But it will pay for
the services of an audiologist.  By bundling the services with the
hearing aid itself, all that insurance money is being forfeited,
and many hearing aid customers are using cheaper hearing aids than
what they really need, because they can't afford to pay out of
their own pockets.

By unbundling, you would end the need for secrecy, get rid of most
of the sleaziest hearing aid dispensers, give the whole industry
a much better reputation, provide much better service to the
customers, make the better hearing aids more affordable, and even
increase the income of audiologists in general, diverting customers
to them who would have gone to the sleazier dispensers.

To start the hearing aid industry down the path towards unbundling,
the best thing to do would be to start discussing it here, and to
adopt a policy of being open about prices and costs.  You can even
start doing it in your own practice as soon as you agree that it's
a good idea.

But in any case, any need for secrecy is contrary to the spirit of
the internet.  Any such understanding will be violated many times,
to the effect that the secrecy will gradually become worthless.
That's the way it should be.  The internet is an entity of its own
and is not controlled nor controllable by anyone.  So it would be
better to adopt a pro-openness policy in the first place, than to
be forever fighting a battle that's unwinnable and not worth winning.

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