At 4MyHearingBiz, courtesy of CareCredit, we get questions from hearing care professionals regarding how to run a successful practice. We hear 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.
I’ve heard a lot of talk in the hearing care industry about PSAPs, and I see that Apple and Samsung are introducing new “hearables.” How important are PSAPs to my business, and how much do I really need to know about them? (And, should I be worried that “hearables,” PSAPs or ALDs from retailers may take business away from my hearing care practice?)
A PSAP, or Personal Sound Amplification Product, is the same as buying reading glasses, or readers, at the drugstore. Some people are now referring to PSAPs as “hearables.” Whether you call them PSAPs or hearables, they are not hearing aids. Hearables are a quick fix for a longterm problem. However, whether we hearing care providers like it or not, hearables/PSAPs have arrived to disrupt our market–and just like Big Box retail stores that now offer low-priced hearing aids–hearables/PSAPs are here to stay.
Let’s differentiate ourselves from the hearables that are entering the market. We have the “Big 7” hearing aid manufacturers that produce hearing instruments based on years of research behind the algorithms. The hearing aids we currently provide to our patients are already so advanced, and so far ahead of any of these PSAPs or hearable products coming into the market. It’s your job to know those distinctions, and to explain it to everyone who walks through your door (and to their friends, and their friends’ friends, etc). Our hearing aid products are slick and cool, and connect you to anything and everything!
As far as Samsung and Apple entering this market…again, the products they offer will not be hearing aids. Also, these two companies will not be able to provide the level or degree of service to the demographic we cater to. As far as I’m concerned, it takes longer to buy an iPad and get someone to explain how it works than to give birth! I’m exaggerating, obviously, but if you have visited an Apple store recently and seen the crowds of people waiting in line to speak to a “genius” at the Apple Genius Bar to get their questions answered, you know what I’m talking about. Can you imagine your patients waiting in a long line at the technology store so they can ask one of the “techies” there how a new PSAP works to help them hear?
In contrast, I can bring a patient into the office and spend an hour with them and have them walking out the door with complete connectivity and the best technology in the world. Not to mention the fact that I will be there with them every step of the way on their hearing journey, with proven customized technology. Make yourself a “genius” and know everything there is to know about connectivity with the hearing aids that you are able to offer in your practice.
Have a question? Please feel free to post a comment in our “Leave a Reply” section at the bottom of this article. We encourage readers to pose one or more questions for one of the experts to answer in the near future.
The “Ask an Expert” column is provided to the 4MyHearingBiz community by CareCredit, The Hearing Review, and contributors from the hearing healthcare industry who share their opinions and perspectives with our community.