The Hearing Journal, in conjunction with Audiology Today, has just published the results of their bi-annual survey of readers. This survey provides a great overview of what is on the minds of the hearing aid dispensing community. The overriding theme from Hearing Journal readers, most of whom are hearing professionals who dispense hearing aids, was their unhappiness with an article in the June, 2009 issue of Consumer Reports indicating that most consumers are paying too much for hearing aids, and that those aids under-perform due to misfitting.
By opening up the subject matter of their survey to the contents of the CR article, the Journal got a wide and impassioned response. HJ readers felt that Consumer Reports based their findings on the experiences of far too few patients to draw any meaningful conclusions. While this has certainly been born out, the most telling part of the HJ survey results is in the details of what the hearing aid dispensing community considers essential to providing high quality care to their patients.
This survey also did a nice job of drawing out some of the distinctions between the audiology and licensed dispenser communities. While audiologists and hearing instrument specialists may differ in their concerns about what is important to consumers and patients, they overwhelmingly feel that there ought to be more uniform standards of care around product choice, fitting protocols, and after-sales service.
Next month, Verve Marketing will be fielding a survey that focuses on the practice management side of dispensing hearing aids. Where the Hearing Journal survey covered patient care issues, we hope to dig into the business management issues faced by hearing healthcare professionals. Stay tuned.