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Hearing aid prices and the perception of value

Hearing aids are too expensive, right? Right. Below is an image I created for my totally-made-up hearing aids store:

What do you think of the two hearing aids for sale here? One is $100 and the other is $1200, which one is better? Which would you buy? If you are like most people then your gut-feeling is that the $1200 hearing aid is much better than the $100 one simply because it is more expensive. We think that more expensive is better.

Many studies have shown that we don’t make rational decisions when we buy things, we don’t thoroughly research all our buying options and go with the cheapest and/or best option for us – instead, we go with gut-instincts, predefined ideas about how much something should cost, make comparisons based on side-by-side offers, basically we make bad snap-decisions. But it’s not our fault, it’s the way our brains work! See this, this or this for examples. Two great books that go into how and why we make bad decisions when we buy are: Predictably Irrational and Influence.

Some companies are starting to offer more affordable hearing aids, both online and on the high street. Because hearing aids have been so expensive for so long the common thinking is that they are expensive because they need to be, because they are high-tech or because they are difficult to make and fit. We’ve been trained to believe that hearing aids are expensive items and this will give the people who are starting to offer lower prices a problem: How do you sell at a lower price without making it look like you are offering an inferior product?