The only OPTIONAL PERSONAL EXPENSE perhaps greater than the COST of HEARING AIDS has to be COSMETIC SURGERY OR DENTAL RESTORATION.
There has to be STICKER SHOCK EXPERIENCE when a Hearing Aid Prospect discovers that Hearing Aids sell on AVERAGE for $5,000 per pair. The highest figure I have heard is $12,000 per pair.
Usually the COST OF ALL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES are bundled into the price of the Hearing Aids.
Perhaps Hearing Aids should be sold the same way Eyeglasses are, with separate billing for the Optometrist and the Eyeglasses.
That way the Consumer can evaluate whether the personal skills of one Hearing Aid Dispenser, whatever title they use, is worth $1,000 or $2,000 or $3,000 or $4,000 or $5,000 PER HOUR more than another Hearing Aid Dispenser.
Perhaps the most important consideration, is how nice the Office looks, or the Personality of the Hearing Aid Dispenser, whatever title they use.
Hearing Aid Prospects think they are just buying a Hearing Aid when they obtain one trhough a Hearing Aid Office and have to pay for it out of their own pocket.
It is my understanding, that of about 2 Million Hearing Aids dispensed in the United States, about 450,000 of those are dispensed on a no-charge basis through the Veterans Administration (VA).
A great percentage of Hearing Aids are paid for by 3rd Parties, such as Former Employers, Unions, School Districts, etc.
Social Security Benefits do not pay for Hearing Aids.
As a Consequence, neither do HMO's.
For Marketing Purposes,usually as an enticement to join their Organization, HMO's create marketing programs with Hearing Aid Dispensers, with PHONEY discounts offered if you buy the Hearing Aids through their Preferred or Associated Hearing Aid Dispenser.
KAISER refers all their MEMBERS to HearX West Hearing Aid Centers because they own about 40% of the Stock of HearX which usually means they stand to share in the profits of HearX, if any are available and distributed.
SIEMENS, currently the Largest Hearing Aid Manufacturer in the World, soon to be replaced by the Parent of PHONAK (a new name: SONOVON?) has agreed to a line of credit to HearX of 50 Million Dollars, which doesn't have to be paid as long as HearX buys 90% of their Hearing Aids from SIEMENS.
A FINANCIAL & MARKETING WAY of looking at that arrangement is that its costing SIEMENS two and half Million Dolars (5%) to capture the HearX business.
Obviously, there has to be a lot of profit in the Manufacture, Sale, and Resale of Hearing Aids at every level, and there is.
There aren't too many retail products to provide a retail gross profit of 80 or 90 per cent perhaps other than Teeth and Diamonds.
Maybe Microsof makes that kind of profit too.
The Average SEARS retail store is luckey to average 35% gross profit with a net of 2%.
Supermarkets supposed have a net profit of about 2% on sales, and makes their money on investment and inventory turn.
Invest 1 Million and turn it 52 times (once a week) @ 2% profit, and 2% is a nice return on a 1 Million dollar investment. Ask Ron Burkle.
Thank God (the Hearing Aid God) for Retailers like HearX and SONUS that believe in and can afford Newspaper Advertsing.
By Publishing some Sale Prices in the Ads they expose the Public to the Moderate Price of a Hearing Aid. Such Advertising keeps those not interested or unwilling to pay those prices don't bother the Staff of HearX and drives the Prospects to the willing arms of the Staff of COSTCO and other Hearing Aid Dispensers.
When HearX talks about their more expensive Hearing Aids, they always talk about $1,000 Dollar Discounts, NEVER MENTIONING THE PRICE, as does MIRACLE-EAR,BELTONE,SONUS,AUDIBEL,NU-EAR, AND all other highbinders.
As is to be expected, the vast majority of First-Time Buyers, as they are called, refuse to buy Hearing Aids, about 75% of them, and they of course spread the word that Hearing Aids are a rip-off, and of course they are if you pay those kind of prices and don't really need them.
Most People, with a High Frequency Hearing Loss really don't need hearing aids to survive or function in their Personal Life, but a lot of them do in the Business and Profession Life, and they are the ones that buy them.
Anyone who has been dispensing Hearing Aids for over 20 Years (and there aren't many Dispensers with that much experience) knows the Drill and goes through the motions of selling First Time Users anyway.
An Individual really has to suffer from a Hearing Loss, really has to have a personal or professional need,really has to be MOTIVATED,and has to have the Money, to busy and use Hearing Aids.
Anyone buying Hearing Aids, either for the First Time,or Second Time, should shop for Experience and Price. Product is not that important.
Most Hearing Aids are almost identical in every aspect.
Its the Experience, Reputation,Policies,Practices, and SERVICES ,of the Hearing Aid Dispenser and Manufacturer, that are IMPORTANT.
PRICE OF COURSE, IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS.
In any event, the experience of shopping for a Hearing Aid, while better than a visit to the Dentist, is an interesting and exciting experience.
I think a Person should always take another Person with them as a Witness and as a Judge and Influence of what was said and the impressions of more than one Person.
Inferences can be different, as are Hearing Aid Dispensers.
NOT HOW THE OFFICE LOOKS OR THE PERSONALITY AND GOOD LOOKS OF THE HEARING AID DISPENSER.