Are you really being rorted or just overcharged?

On Tuesday 28 June 2016, the ABC broadcast a feature story on its national AM program, hosted by Michael Bressenden. Reporter Simon Galletta highlighted the difficulties some people face with the cost of hearing aids.

The story suggested that the hearing services sector is completely unregulated. Personally, I don’t think regulation would make any difference.

As the recent ATSE winner of the Clunies Ross Award for my work in hearing and improving access to hearing aids, I make the following comments:

  • I don’t quite understand Louise’s case. Profoundly deaf from birth, she should have been looked after well by Australian Hearing until she was 26. From then, if she was on a Pension, she would have been either offered entry level hearing aids for free or required to pay a gap for more highly featured devices. If she is profoundly deaf, she should have been offered a cochlear implant, which is available in Australia on the public system.
  • The hearing aid industry in Australia is an interesting mix of cross subsidies and vertically integrated global retail chains. Please take a minute to watch this Clunies Ross video (below) to see what one visionary entrepreneur is doing to correct this, by running an Australian profit for purpose company and bringing the hearing aid industry into Australia
  • We have issues to sort out, but one of the most important things is that people use hearing aids as soon as possible.

I’m more than happy to help advise Louise and help her find an affordable outcome. I can’t sell her hearing aids for fear of looking opportunist, but everyone else reading can see that there are more affordable alternatives. We have a Premium quality high powered hearing aid for a third of the price Louise has been quoted.

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One Comment

  1. My personal experience of Australian Hearing is the worst of several I tried before finding my current well trained, conscientious and ethical audiologist. They are constantly touting for business yet seriously understaffed both in numbers and in level of training. I was not satisfied to be left with an unsupervised student. It took me eight weeks to get an initial appointment and I had to argue to get more than a single appointment for adjustments within the trial period. Before the end of the trial I was pressed to sign something by a clerk and had I been less insistent on knowing what it was and why I would have signed acceptance of hearing aids I felt were giving me no significant benefit. Testing equipment was limited compared to what I am now used to and in poor repair.
    Something you said on a recent radio interview suggested to me that BS will be introducing new, updated hardware next year. Since the current hardware is far from premium – the lack of volume and programme synchronisation is but one aspect in which it falls short of what is generally seen as standard – I will persist with my present satisfactory aids before trying yours.

    Donald Aitchison

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