Who's best to buy a hearing aid from? A salesman, a dispenser or an audiologist?

Giganews Newsgroups
Subject: Who's best to buy a hearing aid from? A salesman, a dispenser or an audiologist?
Posted by:  Ken (kkerris…@ozemail.com.au)
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008

dsi1, in another thread said:
I see no reason why folks should think that a person trained to test
hearing and diagnose problems with hearing would be much better at
fitting hearing aids and solving problems than a person who's main
skill is salesmanship.
Most of us would prefer to seek advice on hearing from someone who has
a university degree (from a not-too-obscure institution) in audiology.
But it is true, and many posts illustrate, that there are crook
audiologists and excellent dispensers out there. So what about
salesmen? Well virtually everyone who fits hearing aids is a salesman
because he/she only makes a living from their margin on the hearing
aids they dispense. If they don't sell aids they don't eat!

I don't knock salesmen. We all heave a sigh of relief when, buying
anything, we find that we are in the hands of someone with the
ability, and motivation, to help us get what we need.

But, frankly, I would prefer to see the diagnosis and correcting of
hearing problems separated from the sale of hardware. I would prefer
to pay audiologists for their services the same way as I pay doctors/
lawyers/accountants. Apart from anything else, this would avoid the
conflict of interests where the dispenser/audiologist's income is
affected by whether or not he sells a hearing aid, or where different
brands offer him different margins on sales.

If audiologists billed on a fee-for-service basis plus any hardware at
cost, I believe everyone would benefit. Unfortunately the present
marketing model (often called 'bundling') is very, very entrenched. To
that extent they are all, essentially, salesmen.