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

Deceptive Hearing Aid Marketing Tactics | The Truth About Hearing Aid Marketing. Dr. Cliff Olson, Audiologist and Founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem Arizona, discusses marketing tactics of some hearing aid dealers.


In the early 90’s the FDA issued warnings to several hearing aid companies for misleading claims over their products. Marketing is an essential part of any product or service offered by a company, but there are legitimate ways to market, and there are deceptive ways to market.

Let’s talk about some of the more common deceptive marketing techniques.

#1. Bait and Switch – This one is fairly common. Companies lure you in with cheap hearing aids, then tell you that the hearing aids won’t work for your hearing loss. They then try to sell you hearing aids that are significantly more expensive. Even if you do decide to purchase the cheaper ones, they likely won’t be providing you with an excellent fitting and follow-up care since their main goal is to sell not treat.

#2. False Expectations – This is where a company will make wild claims on the performance of their devices. For instance, if a company tells you that their hearing aids will provide you with “90% background noise reduction” or that their hearing aids will provide you “up to 90% speech understanding in noise”, they are trying to mislead you. Basically, don’t trust these types of claims.

#3. Same hearing aid, just 1/10th the price – Hearing aids that cost a tiny fraction of what a regular hearing aid costs do not perform like regular hearing aids despite what the marketing says. Usually, these hearing aids are not programmable, and they do not come with any professional services that are necessary to maximize the performance of a hearing aid.

#4. The Research Study – This is where a hearing aid dealer will lead you to believe that they are conducting a field study on the performance of their hearing aids. They often lure you in with the promise that they will not try and sell you anything. They say that they have a limited supply of the devices being tested, and that there is a no-risk trial where you will have the “option” to buy the hearing aids upon completion. They are basically doing the “hard-sell” at the completion of the fitting and disguising it as a research study.

There are plenty of ethical hearing aid clinics out there. Now that you know what to look for, you can avoid the ones trying to trick you and go to the ones who aren’t.


ikungfuyou2 says:

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).

Linda Haasz says:

what is a good brand of hearing aids

CryptoDeaf says:

Deceptive ad, best thing to do is to participate with a false address and steal the hearing aids never to return them. If they’re going to deceive me, might as well pull a fast one on them too. “Sorry, I somehow lost them. Oops.”

In all seriousness, I would never participate in any sort of research study like that, so I wouldn’t fall prey. If it was a legitimate study, there’s actual resources for people to volunteer for participation and the local newspaper ain’t one of them. How do I know this? I’ve participated in several medical research studies as a volunteer to test medication. I’ve apparently gotten the sugar pill for placebo a couple times out of 3. They’re testing out side effects.

I’m already to the point where I disbelieve hearing aids will actually do much work for me due to mixed hearing loss, and have ditched my audiologist here. I’ve ditched them because of your videos Dr. Cliff. $12000 for a set of hearing aids yikes, but also $8000 for a CI. Upon asking my insurance provider, they said they covered the entire cost, I shouldn’t have a co pay.

Chris Nicklo says:

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.

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