Deceptive Hearing Aid Marketing Tactics | The Truth About Hearing Aid Marketing
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Deceptive Hearing Aid Marketing Tactics | The Truth About Hearing Aid Marketing

– Back in the early 90s,
some hearing aid companies landed in hot water over misleading claims about their products. The FDA stepped in, and
the marketing stopped, but this hasn’t stopped these companies from getting more creative with the type of marketing that they do. So in this video, I’m covering these deceptive marketing tactics that you need to look out for, coming up. (upbeat music) Hi guys, Cliff Olson, doctor of audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem, Arizona, and on this channel, I cover a bunch of hearing
related information to help make you a
better informed consumer, so if you’re into that, consider hitting the subscribe button. There is no doubt that
marketing is an essential part of any product or service
that is offered by a company. But there’s an honest way to market these products and services,
and then there’s dishonest ways to market these products and services. So I’ll wanna make sure that I go over these common marketing
tactics that are used by these deceptive hearing aid companies. Number one is the bait and switch. This one’s pretty common. This is where you see marketing for extremely cheap hearing devices to get you into the door,
and then after they do all of they’re testing and evaluation, they tell you that that particular product isn’t right for you, and
that you’re gonna need a product that is
substantially more expensive. Now you don’t have to get that product that is substantially more expensive, and that product may in fact be the one that is actually right for you. And if you go with the cheaper
product that they marketed, the chances are is that
they’re not gonna give you the level of service
that you would’ve gotten if you bought their
more expensive product. Not to mention, the
product in and of itself won’t be very good either. That being said, the type of companies that use this tactic probably
wouldn’t even give you good service if you bought the more expensive product anyway. Number two is false expectations. This is where a company will
make wildly absurd claims about their products and
what their capabilities are. Take this article for instance. Any company that claims to give you 90% background noise reduction is just flat out lying to you, and I would suspect that
it’s just a matter of time before the FDA catches onto this, and shuts this down as well. Yes, hearing aids can
and will give you benefit in a background noise situation, assuming that they are
programmed correctly, and that you have a decent
level of technology. But to claim that you can get
90% background noise reduction with any hearing aid
is flat out misleading. Number three is any
marketing that tells you that you can get the same
great hearing aid technology for a tenth of the price. Take this newspaper article for instance. They’re actually telling
you that you can get better hearing delivered for just $299. The average hearing aid costs about $2400. Why spend that much when you can buy a high quality hearing aid for $299? It goes on to say your hearing aid kit will be delivered right to you, no need for inconvenient office visits. The funny thing is is
that those office visits are exactly what are making
hearing aids work effectively for you as an individual. You’ve heard me a million
times talk about it in my other videos about
how real ear verification is the single more important factor of getting hearing aids
to work correctly for you, and to get them programmed correctly to your hearing loss prescription, and you can’t do that
when you receive something in the mail that’s in a box. These hearing aids, if you
can even call them that, because they’re not customizable were probably purchased
in China for about $10, and they sell them to you
for the low price of 300. But hold on, it gets better. Let’s keep reading the ad. With our high definition
100% digital hearing aids, you’ll enjoy receiver-in-canal technology for greater sound clarity,
no distortion caused by sound being carried through a tube. Adaptive noise reduction eliminates unwanted background noise by
up to, you guessed it, 90%. Four program presets with single button control for easy selection. And kit includes speaker tips and multiple sizes for a great fit. Just $299 per aid with free shipping. Alright, let’s talk about
receiver-in-the-canal technology reducing distortion compared to a tube. That is flat out incorrect. Distortion has nothing to
do with it being a tube or being a receiver wire. I fit a number of patients with tubes, and they don’t have any distortion issues. So I don’t know where they’re coming up with this type of information,
but none the less. Adaptive noise reduction,
again they’re claiming to reduce background noise up to 90%. So just by reading that, you should run as far as you can in the other direction. Alright, the fourth and final one which is my personal favorite
is the research study. My buddy, Dr. Scot Frink
from Salem Audiology in Salem, Oregon actually found this ad in his local newspaper
and it’s a good one. The headline reads, field
test candidates wanted. Urgent notice, you may be qualified to participate in a special field test of new hearing instrument technology being held at a local test site. An industry leader in
digital hearing aid devices is sponsoring a product field
test in your area next week, and they have asked us to select up to 15 qualified
candidates to participate. They are interested in determining the benefits of GENIUS 3.0 Technology in eliminating the difficulty
hearing aid users experience in difficult environments, such as those with background noise or multiple talkers. Candidates in other
test areas have reported very positive feedback so far. Don’t worry, it gets better. In an effort to accurately demonstrate the incredible performance
of these devices, specially trained representatives will be conducting
testing and demonstrations during this special event. In addition to audiometric
hearing evaluation, candidates will receive a
fiber-optic otoscope exam, a painless procedure that could reveal common hearing problems
such as excessive wax or damage to the eardrum, as
well as other common cause of hearing deficiencies. Yes, I said cause. That was a typo. But my favorite part was
when they were talking about specially trained representatives. Wouldn’t you think that they
would want audiologists, or researchers, something like that? No, they actually bring
in outside sales people to fit you with the devices. It’s not really a research field study. I mean you can technically
get away with that, but their purpose is to
sell you the hearing aids. And you know they’re
really laying it on thick when they’re talking about
a fiber-optic otoscope exam. That’s just a fancy way to
say that they’re gonna look inside of your ears with a light. So let’s talk about the
different marketing tactics they’re actually using inside
of this field test study. And the first one is scarcity. They’re trying to make you think that they’re performing this research on a very rare type of
hearing aid that is brand new, but the GENIUS 3.0 hearing aid is just a rebranded Signia hearing aid, and you can get those
pretty much anywhere. I mean I sell them in my clinic, there’s a ton of other
clinics that sell them, and they’ve actually been
selling them for awhile. The other thing is that
they’re restricting it to only 15 participants. They want you to think
that you have to act fast, because if you don’t get there in time, you’re not gonna be able to be inside of that field test study. But let me tell you something. If 50 people showed up for that, they would be fitting 50
people with hearing aids. Number two is that the offer is no risk. They just want you to wear
the devices for 30 days, come back and report
what your experience was. They’ll even give you a
$100 gift card to do so. But if you wanna keep the hearing aids, we’ll give them to you
for a really good price. What this ad doesn’t tell you
is that all of these locations that they’ve listed are
Miracle Ear locations. And it’s pretty obvious why
they wouldn’t want to list their actual business name, because no one would really believe that
these particular locations aren’t just trying to sell hearing aids. And that, my friend, is deceptive. Listen, there are plenty of
ethical hearing aid clinics out there that are trying
to market their products and services in an honest way, and now that you know
what to look out for, you can avoid the ones that
are trying to trick you, and you can go to the ones that aren’t. That’s it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below. If you liked the video, please share, and if you wanna see other
videos just like this one, make sure you hit that subscribe button. I’ll see you next time. (cheerful music)

About Ralph Robinson

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9 thoughts on “Deceptive Hearing Aid Marketing Tactics | The Truth About Hearing Aid Marketing

  1. Another deceptive tactic (and one that is becoming more widespread) is when hearing aid manufacturers purchase audiology clinics or centers and rebrand them with generic names like, "Hearing Life," without fully disclosing the manufacturer affiliation. These clinics are then fitting only their manufacturer's devices as "best solutions" even though there may be better/cheaper alternatives. The patient has no idea that they may not truly be getting the best solution for them. I think there should be mandatory disclosures, and I believe patients should only choose independent clinics who work with several brands. I've worn hearing aids for 15+ years and have seen how one company may have the best technology at any point in time only to fall far behind as other introduce new products. I would never want to be tied into using/selecting from only one brand.

  2. You for got the $499 hearing aids with the small print "up to a 35dB loss" aka the bait and switch (very popular in IL, and FL).

  3. The main thing that I tell patients is to do research and don't buy any hearing aid that requires them to come back to that store to get worked on. We frequently get patients who come into the clinic with a hearing aid that we can't work on due to design or program because the company won't let anyone have access to their programming. Also, in life you generally get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  4. The fact is is that people can test their hearing via an app and fit themselves. Why spend money on a goofy Audiologist when technology has surpassed all that old school stuff.

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