Have you seen the TV adverts promoting Hearing Aid Providers to “Book your FREE hearing test today.” Is the hearing test really free?
I have worked in this industry for long enough to know that this is a numbers game. The aim is to draw in customers into buy hearing aids. I would estimate, conservatively, that approximately one in every six individuals tested will purchase a hearing aid using this model.
The average earnings of an Audiologist is £38,000. That means the hourly rate of pay for them if we take the mean average is about £18 per hour roughly. The rental and other over heads for the practice is an additional amount on top of that. The time it takes to complete the test therefore costs the company money.
Who pays for the FREE tests?
The 1 person out of the 6 that goes ahead and buys the hearing aid does. He is paying for 5 other individuals that have a FREE Test and walk away. That amounts easily to over £100 the purchaser of hearing aids is paying for others and his FREE TEST.
The Hearing Aid Industry has been doing this for years and it is ingrained in the phycology of this industry. Opticians don’t offer FREE Test privately. So why does the hearing aid industry. In my view it is his model that has always worked to generate sales, and the industry is married to it. Especially where there may not have been sufficient motivation by consumers to have a test, as a hearing aid is possibly though of as a grudge purchase.
Why do they not challenge the status quo. Are high street and independent suppliers of hearing aids who offer FREE tests that insecure in their product and service that they ask the public who support them to pay for those who don’t. Are they saying to their degree qualified audiologist that your skills are not worthy of a fee.
It can’t be ethical to the consumer who buys and the audiologist that delivers. By making the purchaser pay for others and by giving away the one of the skills an audiologist has acquired through achieving their qualification.
Is the customer unwilling to pay a small fee for a hearing test?
When we were offering free test, most clients offered to pay. We at the Better Hearing Clinic no longer offer a free test and we inform or patrons up front of the costs. In my experience people are willing and happy to pay for a service such as a hearing health consultation or hearing assessment, on condition they are receiving value for their appointments.
I have had this discussion informally before with others in the industry and the insecurity remains. The excuse is that it works. Offering a free test drives clients in to get their hearing checked and the end justifies the means.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein ref: (https://www.marketing-partners.com/conversations2/21-inspiring-quotes-from-changemakers)