If there is any one product whose acquisition, ownership,usage,operation,and complexity, is more difficult than A HEARING AID, I am not aware of it.
In my life, the only thing I can think of is a Computer.
But as I try to think through the process of purchasing a Computer,and all the other things mentioned above, I don't think the experience and comparison is an accurate analogy.
A Prospect for a Computer is not tested for Need.
No one evaluates whether the Prospect or His Family are suffering from him not owning and using a Computer.
If, for example, a Computer could benefit a Business, it could be Purchased by one Person and used by another.
This can't be done with a Hearing Aid.
There are Schools you can attend, and classes you can take, on how to use a Computer. You can't do that with a Hearing Aid.
There are unbiased Newspaper and Magazine Columns and Articles you can read, which compare Computers,Software,Features,Problems,and Maintenance, of a Computer, that are nowhere except here, to be found.
There is more competition in the Retail Sales of Computers than Hearing Aids, making the Purchase of the Most Expensive Personal Computer Much Less Expensive than the Most Expensive Hearing Aid.
Even an iPhone has more chips and complexities than a Hearing Aid and sells now for $400 or $500 Dollars, Compared to From $3,000 to $8,000 for a Hearing Aid.
The Persons making either a Computer, or anything connected to the Making of Computer, or Hearing Aids, only have to have a Business License to do so.
The Person selling any Computer, even the Most Expensive and Complicated One, like those used by NASA don't have to have a License to do so.
You can be a Sales Associate for Best Buy, or even a Member of the Geek Squad, and not have to be licensed by the State to perform your Sales or Maintenance Job.
Almost Without Exception, Every State, Especially California, requires a License to Dispense Hearing Aids.
In Fact, there is a 2 Phase Test, much,much, more Difficult than that Required for a Drivers License, to be able to sell Hearing Aids in the State Of California.
It almost appears as though the Hearing Aid Dispensers Test in Intended to Keep People Out Of The Business so as to make it Less Competitive and thus More Expensive For The CONSUMERS TO BUY.
YET YOU DON'T NEED A LICENSE TO BE A BRAKE MECHANIC OR ANY OTHER QUALIFICATIONS AS ESTABLISHED BY THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO WORK ON REPAIRING OR INSTALLING BRAKES FOR THE PUBLIC.
YOU DO NOT NEED A LICENSE TO REPAIR BRAKES ON YOUR OWN, OR YOUR NEIGHBORS CARS, IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, BUT YOU DO NEED A LICENSE TO WORK ON YOUR OWN ,OR ANYONE ELSE'S AIRPLANE.
I guess they figure you can be responsible for killing more People with an Airplane than you can with a Motor Vehicle.
Or Else, there are more VOTERS that WORK ON THEIR OWN CARS THAN THERE ARE AIRPLANE OWNERS.
You also need a State License to Cut Hair or Toe nails in the State of California, and it is a FELONY to copy such a LICENSE.
The BEST SOURCE I know of, for initial RESEARCH ON THE PURSUIT OF ACQUIRING A SET OF HEARING AIDS IS: WWW.AUDIOLOGYONLINE.COM
That Site Advertises the Most Prominent and Dominant Hearing Aid Manufacturers. Such as SIEMENS,OTICON,PHONAK,WIDEX,RESOUND,BELTONE,MIRACE-EAR,AND MANY OTHERS.
Each Manufacturer can be obtained by a CLICK from that Site.
Hearing Aid Trade Publications and Magazines can be sourced from that Site.
There are very informative Interviews with Key People in the Hearing Aid Industry on every SUBJECT in the Business.
Each Manufacturer's Website has very informative information not only on their Products, but all ASPECTS OF HEARING LOSS AND HEARING AIDS.
Search Engines make available total information on Ears, Hearing,Acoustics,Ear Disease,Colleges, and Universities,specializing in Hearing, and then there are Plenty of Consumer Associations and Organizations, pertaining to Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids.
Unlike Computers, where there are DOMINANT RETAILERS like BestBuy,Circuit City,etc,that create a COMPETITIVE MARKETPLACE TO THE BENEFIT OF THE CONSUMER,SUCH PLAYERS DON'T EXIST IN THE HEARING AID BUSINESS.
The only RETAILER with real impact is SEARS and they lease out space to MIRACLE-EAR who attempts to SELL AT THE HIGHEST AND MOST PROFITABLE PRICES IN THE COUNTRY. IT IS A CONCESSION WITH SEARS.
THE SAME COMPANY,AMPLIFON,A MARKETING COMPANY ONLY,ALSO OWNS THE SONUS BRAND.
THE PROFIT MARGIN ON COMPUTERS AT BESTBUY IS 7%.
THE PROFIT MARGIN ON HEARING AIDS, SOLD AT SEARS,SONUS,MIRACLE-EAR,BELTONE,AUDIBEL,WALMART,SONUS,HOUSE EAR CLINICS,OR ALMOST ANY HEARING AID DISPENSING ORGANIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING COSTCO, IS ABOUT 80%.
PROBABLY ABOUT THE SAME MARGINS THAT MICROSOFT ENJOYS. DEPENDING UPON THE PRODUCT GROUP.
There is a lot of GROSS DOLLARS when you play with percentages.
For example: If a Hearing Aid cost a Dealer $1,000 and the Dealer sells it for $2,000, enjoying a $1,000 profit, the GROSS PROFIT IS 50%.
If the Dealer sells the same Hearing Aid for $5,000 enjoying a $4,000 profit, the GROSS PROFIT IS 80%.
The Profit is only 30% Higher, but that TRANSLATES TO $3,000 IN CASH MORE PROFIT.
If the Dealer sells the same Hearing Aid for $7,000 enjoying a $6,000 profit, the GROSS PROFIT IS 85.7%.
THE ADDITIONAL $1,000 IS ONLY 5.7% HIGHER, BUT THE ADDITIONAL PROFIT IS $1,000 CASH.
USUALLY HEARING AID PURCHASERS BUY 2 HEARING AIDS.
DO THE MATH.
THE PROFIT ON THE SALE OF A THOUSAND DOLLAR COMPUTER AT BESTBUY IS $70.00
BESTBUY HAS TO SELL 100 COMPUTERS AT $1,000 EACH, FOR TOTAL SALES OF $100,000 DOLLARS TO MAKE THE SAME $7,000 DOLLARS PROFIT ON THE SALE OF 1 HEARING AID.
THE PROFIT ON THE SALE OF 2 HEARING AIDS WITH A COST OF $1,000 AND A SALES PRICE OF $7,000 IS THE SAME AS BESTBUY HAVING TO SELL $200,000 DOLLARS.
The Time involved in the Sale Of 2 Hearing Aids, on a Yearly basis, from beginning to end, start to finish, is at the most 4 hours.
The Consumers Goal should be to get BESTBUY into the HEARING AID BUSINESS TO CREATE COMPETITION AND BRING THE RETAIL PRICES DOWN.
THAT IS TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CONSUMER.
AND REMEMBER, THE PEOPLE BUYING HEARING AIDS ARE USUALLY NOT THE SAME PEOPLE BUYING COMPUTERS, AND EVEN THOSE THAT DO, DON'T REALLY BUY THEM ON THE SAME NEED BASIS.
VERY FEW PEOPLE, REALLY NEED A COMPUTER.
PEOPLE THAT REALLY NEED HEARING AIDS, REALLY DO NEED THEM.