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News: Hearing loss – Get the right advice at the right price

Hearing loss – Get the right advice at the right price

Hearing loss – Get the right advice at the right price

08/07/2019 - Ethics, Hearing Aids, Hearing loss

Our Principal Audiologist, Grant Collins, explains the benefit of "unbundling" hearing health services.

  • Are you paying for services you don’t need or will never use?
  • Unbundling eliminates the necessity to “over-prescribe” hearing aids.
  • Even patients eligible for government funding need to be wary.
  • Audiology clinics should make costs transparent upfront.

When some businesses are quoting $10,000-$12,000 or more for hearing aids, it is easy to understand why there is a perception in that hearing loss treatment is expensive.

When it comes to hearing loss, people in Australia wait, on average, seven years to address their loss – a wait that could cost them socially, economically and emotionally.

Principal Audiologist and owner of Queensland based Clarity Hearing + Balance, Grant Collins, says one of the biggest reasons for that delay is the perception of high cost, but it’s his aim to remove that barrier.

Hearing aids should not cost this much

Mr Collins says there is no reason why costs should be so high. To reduce costs for their patients, Clarity operate under what Mr Collins calls an “unbundled” hearing loss treatment model.

“At Clarity we separate our clinical audiology fees from the cost of the hearing aid. This means you pay separately for the advice we give you (just like you would at your GP or physio) and for the devices you may end up being recommended,” Mr Collins said.

Operate from a clinical base, not a sales base

“Operators who bundle those two items together will offer their clinical services for free, or at very low cost, to get you in the door. This though means they are almost forced to recommend and sell you hearing aids in order to pay the rent, even if they won’t provide you with any real benefit,” Mr Collins continued. “They derive their income from sales… not from clinical advice.”

Some operators in the Australian hearing device industry use sales targets and commissions to incentivise their staff.

“There should be no room at all for sales targets or commissions in what is a health aid industry,” Mr Collins said.

No incentive to “sell” hearing aids

“At Clarity, because our clinical time is covered outside the purchase of a device, we can focus on giving our patients unbiased, independent hearing loss treatment advice, rather than trying to sell them an expensive device to cover costs,” Mr Collins said.

It’s a model that works well for Clarity and their patients with some travelling from NSW and even WA to attend Clarity clinics in Queensland.

“We’re a Queensland owned business so it’s something we are really proud of that people are willing to travel these long distances to see us,” Mr Collins said.

Transparent hearing aid pricing

Clarity make it easy for patients to compare any quotes they may already have received. They can see all prices online in Clarity’s hearing aid catalogue, or use the hearing aid price comparison search page on their website.

Government-funded patients need to be wary too

Where patients are covered by the government’s Hearing Services Program, Mr Collins sees the same issues with many patients pushed to co-pay top-up aids, when the free-to-client offering would provide similar hearing loss benefit.

“I have yet to see fully independent studies that show expensive top-up devices provide any additional significant hearing benefit over properly fitted free-to-client devices,” Mr Collins said.

If you’d like to discuss hearing loss treatment options, compare an existing quote, or get a second opinion on a device you already have, contact Clarity using the button below or call 1300 252 748 today:

Contact Clarity today!

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