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

Giganews Newsgroups
Subject: Re: Who's best to buy a hearing aid from? A salesman, a dispenser or an audiologist?
Posted by:  wgd.roami…
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008


Here is my take on your "from whom to buy" question.  Forgive me, I
have not read the other replies so that what I add/say will not be
tainted, so to speak.

1.  Doctors should NOT sell aids.  They should specify what type or
types of aids would be best for their patient.  They should NOT have a
vested interest in a piece of hardware.  They should charge for a
chart.  MR noted that $14.oo is not enough for the preparation of a
chart (understood that Medicare pays $14.oo) considering that he/she
has a medical degree.  So...?  The act of preparing a chart is not
rocket science.  The act of diagnosing a patient's hearing problems
DOES require proper training, an MD for example.

2. Buyer Beware.  Buying from a Salesman can work IF the salesmen is
vested with a sound work ethic.  MR, a doctor, says he is also a
salesmen. What does he mean, how does he define a salesman.

3. IMHO, a salesman and a dispenser are one in the same.  Both are
expected to have certain training, understanding of what they are
offering.  They have vested interests in what they are offering.
Speaking from experience (hi-tech, but NOT hearing aids), like classic
dealers, "salesmen" and dispensers have virtually unlimited access to
product.  It is in their best interest to match a chart to a product.
CICs vs BTE and so forth.  Now when it comes to what CIC or what BTE,
features and associated dollars come into play, like buying a car or a

4.  Audiologists are a not so gentle mix of doctor and
dispener/salesman.  With certain training behind them, I see them more
closely in a doctor's camp versus a "salesman/dispenser".  ENTs,
really doctors, fall into my postion #1 above.  With an audiologist in
the next room, they have a vested interest in what products fill the
cabinet, thus falling into the salesman/dispenser category.

- Doctors should not sell product.
- A coin toss when it comes to salesman/dispensers
- Audiologists, with an ENT in the next room, fall in doctor class.
- Stand-alone audiologists fall in to the coin-toss arena with

This should stir some feathers.

Wayne in Very Sunny, Very Pleasant today, Sarasota.

On Sun, 19 Oct 2008 15:25:43 -0700 (PDT), Ken
<kkerris…> 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.


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