I've compiled a list of the top ten things that quality hearing clinics do. Does your local hearing clinic pass the test? Many hearing clinics fail the grade. If you feel your hearing clinic doesn't meet some or all of these quality standards you might want to consider a quality, independent hearing clinic.
Hearing clinics that diligently do the things listed in this article set themselves apart from all other hearing clinics. They demonstrate their high regard for their clients, their clients' hard-earned money and quality of life, along with the future of the hearing aid industry in Canada.
Quality hearing clinics...
1. ...Take Thorough Measurements
A proper hearing test takes at least an hour to perform. Even then, it may be difficult for the hearing professional to fit all best practice tests into the single hour. If client needs aren't measured properly up-front, how can a hearing solution be verified later? It can't. Purchasing or selling hearing aids without knowing the full extent of what is needed is irresponsible, at best.
2. ...Resist Overselling Latest, Expensive Features
For the vast majority of clients, low to mid-range technology is more than adequate to meet their hearing loss needs. Many of the latest hearing aid features, found in top-of-the-line hearing aids, offer marginally small benefit for the cost. Most hearing clinics make a commission from hearing aid sales (through manufacturer kickbacks or "discounts"). Quality hearing clinics resist the urge to sell expensive features to clients who don't really need them.
3. ...Display Transparent, Justifiable Pricing
We all know that people who have something to hide can't be trusted. This axiom is also true for hearing clinics. It is the hearing aid consumer's right to know who is benefiting from their purchase and which products and services they are to expect, in return. Whatever name it's given - "transparent pricing", "unbundled pricing", "fair pricing", "justifiable pricing" - each client deserves to know, as the hearing aid cost breakdown is inherently tied to the perception of "value".
4. ...Plan for Clients' Longer-Term Needs
Meeting the short-term needs of clients is generally "low hanging fruit", especially when the client is on board. Truth is, many clients are unaware of long-term considerations. Long term considerations require considerably more client education and may sacrifice short-term revenue for longer-term client satisfaction. Examples of short term considerations may be "visibility" or "comfort". But, over time, these concerns may become lower in priority and may be replaced by "directionality", "noise reduction", or "device compatibility". It is the responsibility of the clinic to prepare clients for longer-term considerations.
5. ...Define Clear Rehabilitative Goals and Expectations
A rehabilitation plan is pretty much the opposite of marketing. Marketing may sing the praises of the magical wonders of technology, higher expectations, and easy solutions. But a quality rehabilitation plan sets clear, realistic expectations and delegates responsibility to the client and other stakeholders - all proven to improve client satisfaction outcomes.
6. ...Don't Participate in Impersonal or High-Pressure Sales Tactics
Consumers are growing weary of email spam marketing, impersonal calls during dinner, or pictures of beautiful, happy seniors running on beaches. Clinics owned by manufacturers or large corporations will continue to pursue ways to sell their products to consumers for less cost and effort. Meanwhile, quality hearing clinics focus on doing the job right in a quality, ethical manner. They don't need to resort to gimmicks or arm-twisting to further their business. Their results speak for themselves.
7. ...Eagerly Answer Difficult Questions
Questions relating to hearing loss and hearing aids are really not that hard to answer, clearly and truthfully. You can gauge a quality hearing clinic by how eager they are to answer questions you pose, along with the depth of verifiable information they provide. If they belittle you, beat around the bush, cite marketing material, or even become uncomfortable or agitated, chances are there's something they don't want you to know. Ask away or go away.
8. ...Verify Each Hearing Aid and Hearing Solution
How does a client know if they're experiencing an optimal, best value hearing solution? They don't. They can tell you if they're generally happy or not, but they depend on the hearing professional to tell them if they've met their "hearing targets". Sadly, many hearing professionals simply "guess with confidence" because they refuse to perform simple verification best practices. There are enough investments in life that are educated guesses. An investment in hearing aids should not be one of them.
9. ...Follow-Up Regularly after Purchase
If, after spending your money on hearing aids, you don't hear back from your hearing clinic, you can rest assured that they're putting your money to good use but have little regard for your well-being and long-term satisfaction. Quality hearing clinics know that ongoing hearing services are key to your success. If you're looking for a quality hearing clinic, ask others who have purchased hearing aids what kind of follow-up service they are getting.
10. ...Reject Manufacturer or Corporate Influence
The vast majority of hearing clinics have strong ties with a single manufacturer of hearing aids. This is a real disaster for the future of the industry. The Canadian government, over the years, has done little to prevent the complete takeover of the hearing aid marketplace by manufacturer associated businesses. What does this mean for the consumer? Higher prices, less selection, lower quality hearing services, and unsatisfactory outcomes. Choose an independent hearing clinic for your next hearing aid purchase.
There you have it. Let me know what you think. Is there anything you think I've missed? Comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org are always welcome.
I hope you'll give some thought to the important points listed in this article. Each and every hearing aid consumer can play a significant role to make positive change happen. By supporting the values of trust, quality, objectivity, and fair pricing, informed hearing aid consumers will witness positive change in the Canadian hearing aid marketplace.
If you're in the market for hearing aids, be sure to download your free copy of our consumers guide and checklist to hearing clinic services to achieve the best hearing solution for yourself or your loved one.
Find your local independent hearing clinic here...