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

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Subject: Re: Who's best to buy a hearing aid from? A salesman, a dispenser or an audiologist?
Posted by:  Dr. Michael W. Ridenhour (dr…
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008

Ken wrote:
> 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.

Yes, Ken, you make this speech about every quarter. In the US, Medicare
pays $14 for an audiogram. A good audiogram takes nearly an hour,
considering history, etc. Would you work for $14 an hour with a doctorate?
I don't think so.
I sell hearing aids and am proud to be a salesman. Hearing aids are part
of the rehabilitation service I offer.
I am old enough to have worked under the system you propose. It wasn't
scrapped because of greed, but because it doesn't work.

Dr. Ridenhour


In response to

Who's best to buy a hearing aid from? A salesman, a dispenser or an audiologist? posted by Ken on Sun, 19 Oct 2008