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.