Tying Regulation of Hearing Aids Sales with Satisfactionomar@omarkoza.com
If you have been reading past blog posts, you know that we have visited the topic of internet hearing aid sales and its effect on patient satisfaction. As it so happens there are surveys conducted called Eurotrak and JapanTrak which track consumer use of hearing aids in six European countries and Japan. From this we can draw some conclusions which help to support the fact that a hearing aid fit by a licensed experienced professional is often the key to satisfaction.
Note: When we say regulation, we are speaking generally of laws limiting the ability to fit hearing aids to those individuals who have been licensed in their respective state to do so. Despite these regulations, retailers are still able to skirt the rules by exploiting loopholes.
Many conclusions can be drawn from these surveys that support the use of properly fit hearing aids, but the one point that we find especially interesting and concerning is that in Japan, where regulation on the sale and fitting of hearing aids is much less than Europe or the US – overall satisfaction with hearing aids trends lower.
Another interesting piece of data is the rate of hearing aid adoption in Japan. In the US and certain European countries hearing aid adoption ranges from approximately 25% to 43% however in Japan, hearing aid adoption is approximately 14% (out of total number of hearing impaired in that country).
We always see arguments attributing the reason for low adoption of hearing aids in the US and other countries to the cost. We can all agree that a properly set of quality hearing instruments is a considerable expense. However we can see that even in countries like Japan where there is little regulation and internet sales/mail order hearing aids have more of a market share therefore costing consumers less initially, the number of people to adopt hearing aids and the number of satisfied users is significantly lower than in other countries.
As we have said in the past, an unsatisfied hearing aid user will tell many people about their poor experience with hearing aids and in a place where there are more unsatisfied users, it is not surprising that less people are opting to get hearing aids.
Does this mean other countries, including the US are perfect? Far from it actually, but this does help to prove the importance of seeing a qualified professional to treat hearing loss. Until the day that a hearing aid can climb into someone’s ear and adjust itself to that persons unique requirements, seeing a hearing professional will always be the best way to hearing better.