Like most Kiwis, we’re keen on a fair go and good value hearing aids for all and sundry. We think everyone who needs hearing aids should have the support and funding to access them. And let’s face it, anything that’s good value makes us smile!
Thankfully there are a few funding options for some people, but not everyone is covered and they must navigate their own hearing aid purchase.
At Ear Health we’re as upfront as possible about our pricing, and what’s included with the investment you make in your hearing health.
We have absolutely no hidden fees and no extra costs. We want to provide you with the best value for money hearing aids in New Zealand. That not only means keeping prices as low as possible, it also means providing you with the best service and support for the life of your hearing aids.
The quality and quantity of support you receive after you buy your hearing aids can be just as important as the hearing aids themselves. That’s why you will receive a 6-year service guarantee with any pair of hearing aids purchased at Ear Health.
Thankfully, the price of quality hearing aids that work admirably in most listening situations has come down significantly in the last few years. This is largely due to new technology from flagship models trickling down into less expensive options.
What About Cheap Hearing Aids?
Don’t be misled by attempts by some providers to appear to be the cheapest. There are still plenty of lesser quality hearing aids out there that are comparatively “cheap”, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. There’s a pretty good reason why most of us have heard stories about people who buy or receive hearing aids but they end up in living in the sock drawer. Older hearing aid technology was at times uncomfortable and more difficult to adjust to. As you can imagine, the older the technology is, the cheaper it becomes. So exercise some caution and restraint if you see an offer that’s too good to be true.
Sometimes hearing aid retailers even quote or advertise a lower price and then charge you additional fees for things that should be included.
When comparing Ear Health Hearing with another provider please ensure you understand what support and services are included or not included with the purchase of your hearing aids.
For example, the price of a hearing aid may or may not include a full range of services like a free ear wax removal or a full diagnostic hearing test once a year for 6 years. Over the life of your hearing aids, this can save you thousands of dollars.
Now that is good value. But don’t take our word for it, request a hearing aid quote from one of our Auckland clinics today.
3 Reasons Why It Can Be Difficult to Compare Hearing Aids and Their Prices
In our humble opinion, there are three connected yet distinct issues that contribute to the lack of information about hearing aid pricing in NZ.
- Transparency on behalf of the hearing aid retailer.
- Self-regulatory industry policies that inhibit transparency.
- The common practice of ‘bundled pricing’.
Below we discuss each of these issues in more detail.
1. Transparency on behalf of the hearing aid retailer
For well established national hearing aid retailers, it suits them just fine not to provide hearing aid pricing until you are talking to them in their high street shop. When the majority of the discussion about pricing happens behind closed doors the common result is limited overall transparency and a reduction in the ability to easily compare and research prices.
2. Self-regulatory policies that can alter public discussion about hearing aid pricing
In New Zealand audiologists are not allowed to advertise or promote specific hearing aid brands or models. That’s why you can often find hearing aid prices on eBay, Amazon, and even on Australian based hearing aid websites, but not in NZ.
This policy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it insulates audiologists from being associated with potentially biased hearing aid manufacturer advertising. On the other hand, it obstructs public discussion and comparison of hearing aid brands, models and consequently pricing.
3. The common practice of ‘bundled pricing’
Another fork in the road for easily understanding what you get for your money is knowing what services, warranties and guarantees are included with the price of your hearing aids.
The industry norm is to bundle pricing. What that means is all of the services you require to have your hearing aids fitted, fine-tuned, and kept in working order over time are often included in the purchase price.
The level of detail with which those services, warranties and guarantees are described can vary from one hearing aid clinic or retailer to the next. So be sure you understand exactly what is included and for how long (usually a number of years).
Some clinics may also include additional or bonus services such as ear wax removal, yearly hearing tests and replacement hearing aid moulds. If these services are included read the fine print, particularity how often the service will be provided and for how many years after purchase.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Being Satisfied With Your Hearing Aid Purchase?
Most importantly get a detailed quote from two or more hearing aid clinics. If you’re not satisfied with the level of detail, ask plenty of questions.
The terms of hearing aid warranties backed by manufacturers, but managed by the clinic or retailer, are fairly consistent across most major hearing aid brands, but make sure you understand the duration of the warranty, what kind of damage or malfunction is covered under the warranty, and the steps involved in the case of a warranty claim. Also, be wary of any warranty not directly backed by the manufacturer. If you’re not sure, or if you can’t get a straight answer, get a second opinion and take your time in making a decision.
We all make assumptions from time to time, but when you’re dealing with your long-term hearing health, it’s best to be as inquisitive as possible.
There’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your hearing health and what’s included with your hearing aid purchase.
Also, consider asking the larger hearing aid retailers for disclosure about which manufacturer they are owned by and the brands of hearing aids they sell. This will ensure you are not asking for a quote on a brand they don’t normally deal with.
Although a hearing clinic or retailer may have access to a wide range of hearing aid brands, a majority focus on one or two brands that they will fit most of the time.
Don’t forget, retailers and independent clinics and are businesses too. And like all businesses there are operating costs to consider. Such as the training budget for audiologists and staff to effectively and efficiently fit and support a certain number of hearing aid brands.
The six largest hearing aid manufacturers invest heavily in research and development (R&D). A consequence of sustained R&D is constantly evolving technologies that take time and money for practitioners to keep up-to-date with. For example, every manufacturer has product updates and new additions to their portfolios every year and their own proprietary fitting software for audiologists to keep pace with.
If you have any questions about good value hearing aids speak to someone at one of our clinics in Auckland today.