Consumer Guide 2 | Page 19

Q&A How quickly will I get better hearing? In our experience, satisfactory hearing aid results generally occur if you communicate well with your hearing aid dispenser and if your motivation is high. When your new hearing aids fit well, are comfortable and you test the aids thoroughly, over a 60 day trial period, it is more likely that you'll get a successful outcome. However, if you have struggled with hearing aids in the past then it is your patience that will be the main factor. Why do hearing aids cost so much? The main reasons for this are... · You pay for the accelerating rate of innovations through research and development costs incurred by the 6 big hearing aid manufacturers. Like most computerised / electronic items - if you want the latest technology, you'll have to pay a higher price. However, you can make easy savings by buying the previous versions, which are usually pretty good. · Poor economies of scale. The existence of both a relatively poorly-funded NHS AND a competitive private sector means that not enough private aids are sold, therefore the price is higher. This, however, is changing rapidly. This year and next, you will see hearing aid centres springing up everywhere...and gradual changes in the way hearing aids are supplied. Surprisingly the UK market is now relatively competitive and growing rapidly. · At the moment, we (the registered staff) are including a provision for a potentially high level of aftercare within the price. This should equate to 3 or 4 appointments in the first month followed by 6-monthly check ups. · Returns and cancellations are notoriously high in this profession. New hearing aid wearers often reject hearing aids because there is a lack of understanding about how long it takes to get used to them, and they receive a less-than-perfect follow up service. So manufacturers build this into the price. · The number one reason in the UK is quite simply - excessive profit-making AND poor business models of hearing aid companies (top-heavy manager structures, etc). The best thing you can do is... shop around! 19