Disruption in the hearing industry will see dinosaurs become extinct
The music industry has changed radically in the last 10 years: digital downloads, the iPod, Internet shopping and online piracy changed the ball-game entirely. Very few people buy music today in the same way as they did 10 years ago – many companies moved with the times and changed their business models to meet the iPod generation, and many have not and are struggling to compete.
The publishing industry is in upheaval too, more and more people are reading eBooks and everyone and their dog is shopping at Amazon. Borders went bust, most bricks and mortar book shops are in peril. Same as with music, some companies saw the change and went with the tide, other are trying to fight it and are losing. You can’t stop progress.
The music industry ship of change has sailed, the publishing industry is in the awkward teenager getting spots and don’t girls look nice stage, the hearing industry has just started feeling the winds of change.
Some in the hearing industry are embracing the changes and others are digging in their heels. Change is inevitable, technology will progress, people will buy online, people will fit their own aids, new business models will prevail. The smart move is to learn from the record and publishing companies and join the party before it is too late.
I’m still undecided about how well online hearing aid sales can work right now for two reasons: 1. My hearing is way too bad to be fitted with models being sold online so I can’t try them and 2. I have always needed plenty of re-programming by an audiologist/dispenser to get my aids just right, the audiogram was just a starting point. Having said that, I’ve asked readers who have bought online and their feedback is entirely positive, they are all happy with their online purchases and didn’t need extensive reprogramming from a professional – my own experience is completely the opposite to what everyone else has said and maybe this is showing that we are all different, hearing is subjective and options are a good thing.
An example of a new way of supplying hearing aids is the hi HealthInnovations website, it seems like a step in the right direction to me: you can buy a hearing aid online if your hearing loss fits what they are selling, or if not you get directed to a dispenser for one-on-one fitting and advice. How can that not be a good thing? You can’t stop progress.
You can argue until you are blue in the face that people must see a dispenser for a full assessment, you can try legal action against online sellers, you can say the old way is best, you can say it’s unfair, but you can’t stop progress.