Would Future Proof Hearing Aids Appeal To You?
I have been thinking lately about the future of hearing aids, something that I often do. As hearing aids and the way they are provided is changing, one of the things that occurred to me recently was how attractive upgradeable hearing aids might be to consumers. Going to a family wedding? Imagine being able to get the best features for your hearing aid for a weekend? Only one hearing aid brand offers anything close to what I have been thinking about. Unitron, a Sonova company, has offered an upgradeable hearing aid system for many years. Let's explore upgradeable hearing aids and what the future may hold, first, let's talk Unitron.
Unitron Flex: Upgrade
I like Unitron as a brand, they are a little hinky, a little left field, a bit like myself. The Flex: Upgrade system means that all hearing aids from Unitron are easily upgradeable in the clinic from one level of technology to another. It means that you can buy a lower level of hearing aid technology with the confidence that if your lifestyle needs change you can upgrade easily.
You can even try a higher technology level with no obligation. If it meets your needs, you can upgrade your existing hearing aids. That means better features, the same hearing aids. Unitron says "We want to be sure your hearing aids can always keep up with your life’s changes. That’s why Unitron devices are totally upgradeable."
A Flexible Solution
The thing is, although you might not be very active now, once you get used to wearing hearing aids, you might suddenly get more active than you were. That means that the features that you bought, may not keep up with your sudden increased social activities. The Unitron system keeps your options open. A lower level of hearing aid technology may be ideal for you now, but Flex: Upgrade gives you confidence should things change in the future.
I like that idea, I really do, it is a fantastic concept that is designed to meet the needs of consumers. Offering them a versatility that can meet their changing needs. However, I have been thinking lately, maybe it's not versatile enough? Let's sail on the seas of probabilities with a dash of possibilities on the side.
Base Hearing Aid Models
It has occurred to me that hearing aids are probably going to be sold online direct to consumer in the next few years. I mean with OTC (Over The Counter) hearing aids arriving in the US sometime next year or the year after, it only makes sense for mainstream brands to enter that market. How will they do it though, and what will they offer? I think for them, it would make sense to offer base-level hearing aids with basic features. However, I think they will make them upgradeable or programmable by a hearing care professional.
In this way, they will, in fact, offer a blended model that will suit the many. You could buy your hearing aids, programme them to your hearing loss through an app and be confident that if you wanted professional help, it was available. More than that, if you want to upgrade the features to provide better hearing in more sound situations you could do that too.
For me, I think that may be the best of both worlds for consumers, it offers versatility in choice. It also places the power in the consumer's hands. But when you think a little deeper about this type of model, it is obvious that it offers opportunities over and above just simple once off technology level upgrades.
Rent An Upgrade
What if they began to offer feature upgrades on a short term rental basis. Like I said earlier, you are going to a family wedding, you want the best you can get but only for one weekend. It's simple right, you don't need the extra features in your day to day life, but you really want to enjoy this occasion and that means you need them.
Imagine being able to rent them for thirty of your favourite currency a day? Or maybe buying the weekend package for seventy? That would bring a whole new meaning to something for the weekend. You have them loaded up on a Friday morning and they just turn themselves off on Monday. The technology to offer this type of model already exists across every hearing aid brand.
While the Unitron system doesn't quite offer what I envisage, there is no reason why it couldn't. In fact, every hearing aid brand could technically do it. Why stop at features though, in some situations, assistive listening devices can be a huge help, maybe you could rent one as well? Back to my first question though, is it something that you as a consumer would be interested in?
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