At 4MyHearingBiz, courtesy of CareCredit, we get questions from hearing care professionals regarding how to run a successful practice. Readers ask everything from “How can I compete against the ‘Big Box’ retailers like Costco?” to “How can I offer lower-priced hearing aids and still make a profit for my practice?” and more. Experts provide the answers!
Ask an Expert
The goal of our “Ask an Expert” column is to get your questions answered by the people who are in the know—experienced, successful hearing practice owners, practitioners, and others who have first-hand knowledge about the business of hearing care.
Elissa Sorkowitz-Lejeune is a licensed hearing instrument specialist (HIS), and a partner in the highly successful, family-owned Royal Palm Hearing Aid Center in Florida. She has worked in the hearing care industry for more than 25 years, in all aspects of private practice, and also has hands-on experience in hearing instrument manufacturing. She has worked closely with all the major hearing instrument manufacturers and suppliers over the years, and continues to stay abreast of the latest available hearing aid technology.
A few hearing aid manufacturers have been touting wireless streaming with their newer hearing aids, but how important is connectivity in hearing instruments?
Connectivity is key! People need to be able to speak on the phone, to hear the television. In our practice, the Royal Palm Hearing Center, we have demos set up in the office. We also have hearing loops. This gives us the chance to actually give our patients the experience of being connected. We are able to show them, right in the office, the full potential they can have with wireless connected hearing. I love Made for iPhone (MFi) technology, and I’m so passionate about it that my passion rubs off on my patients. (Sometimes I feel like I should be working for Apple!)
Here is a tip: Make sure your patients know their Apple ID passwords before they come in for their appointment. You can have your staff tell them this when they help patients make the appointment. Our staff routinely follows this simple script when booking appointments: Do you use an iPhone? Please know your Apple ID password when you come in for your appointment. This saves time and allows you to demo everything we have in the office very quickly and easily.
I really enjoy offering demos of cool gizmos in hearing technology. I have always loved (and I mean, loved) assistive listening devices (ALDs)—from early childhood, not kidding. I think I inherited this passion from my mother, who has been into ALDs forever.
This brings me to a great story I’d like to share with you about something that happened recently in our hearing care practice, which really illustrates the value of wireless connectivity.
One of my patients has been coming to us for more than 20 years. She was my first patient, back in the day, who had a severe-to-profound hearing loss. She is very bright, and knew more about connectivity than anyone I had ever met—even in the hearing industry. She taught me all about the way she utilized FM, tele-coil technology, explaining how she stayed connected in every way possible. When we first started working on connectivity together, all those years ago, there were so many wires, accessories, and boots that I was learning about that I felt Radio Shack may have been a better career choice for me! Fast forward 25 years.
Two weeks ago I fit her with high-powered Made for iPhone hearing aids. This week when she came in and told me she was hearing much better with her new aids, I told her I had a surprise for her. I connected her to her iPhone and then called her. She answered the phone, and I said, “Go take a walk.” She walked out of my office and down the block, continuing the conversation with me. We hung up, and she walked back in with an astonished look on her face. We both started laughing and jumping up and down like children. She then told me she would be right back, and she went out to her car. A few minutes later, she ran back into my office. She said, “I just talked to my best friend on my cell phone for the very first time. I can never understand him on the phone, but with this new connectivity I could hear him just fine!”
We continued to hug and jump up and down. About an hour later she called me from a restaurant and was so giddy that she could hear in that noisy setting. I also taught her to use her Live Listen feature.
This experience was truly a highlight of my career. I can’t wait for her to come back next week, when I can surprise her with her TV hook-up!
Do you want to ask a question? Please feel free to post a comment in our “Leave a Reply” section at the bottom of this article, giving us a question you’d like answered. We encourage readers to pose one or more questions for one of the experts to answer in the near future.