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Why no one wants to wear a hearing aid and what we can do to change that

No one wants to have a hearing loss, and most people are not excited about the prospect of needing hearing aids. How can you, as a hearing care provider, help them overcome the barriers and realize the benefits of getting hearing aids?

“My hearing is not that bad.” “Hearing aids are too expensive and I can’t afford them.” “If I get hearing aids, it will make me seem old.” “What if I buy hearing aids and can’t figure out how to use them?“ Audiologists have heard every excuse in the book about why people don’t want to get hearing aids. 

Let’s face it, no one wants to have a hearing loss, and most people are not excited about the prospect of needing hearing aids. In the hearing care industry, we’re offering a product that people typically don’t want. That means people wait an average of seven years to do something about it, using a variety of excuses to postpone getting hearing aids. With an acceptance rate of 7-10 years, we know this is the truth in our industry. So, why do people resist getting devices that would help enhance their lives? And how can you, as a hearing care provider, help them overcome the barriers and realize the benefits of getting hearing aids?  

 

The main reasons people resist wearing hearing aids:

 

If handled correctly, you can help people overcome these concerns, which will allow you to increase the performance of your shops in many ways.

For instance, you’ll be able to:

  • Improve central KPIs 
  • Lower the average age of first-time users
  • Increase the conversion rate from hearing loss to trial
  • And improve the trial experience

Additionally, when our industry starts talking more about the benefits of these solutions and the consequences of not properly treating a hearing loss, it will help diminish the overall stigma associated with hearing aids. 

Here’s how to help your customers overcome their concerns and negative perceptions to become more receptive to your hearing solutions. 

 

“My hearing isn't that bad” – Neglecting the severity of a hearing loss. 

Hearing losses often come gradually, which means people may not realize how much their ability to hear has reduced or how the hearing loss has impacted their quality of life. Since hearing loss is typically a slow process, it can be difficult for a hearing-impaired person to decide when the loss is severe enough to act on by purchasing hearing aids. Often, people with a hearing loss postpone solving this issue, convincing themselves that their hearing “is not that bad”. 

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As a hearing professional, make sure to communicate the symptoms of a hearing loss as well as the consequences of not treating the hearing loss. Most people are not aware of the effects a hearing loss has on their overall well-being. They are eager to stay healthy, and well hearing is a central part of that equation! 

Communicating this will help your customers understand how hearing aids will help them and encourage them to act. 

Highlight these symptoms of a hearing loss in your communication with customers:  

  • Does your spouse or other loved ones tell you that you cannot hear?  
  • Does it sound like people are mumbling on TV or the radio?  
  • Do you have a history of hearing losses in your family?  
  • Do you have difficulty hearing at parties, in restaurants, or in other situations with background noise? 

Spotlight theseconsequences

  • Your inability to hear well may result in people perceiving you as uninterested or arrogant  
  • Hearing loss can lead to social isolation and loneliness 
  • Untreated hearing losses can lead to dementia   

Download our  FREE Marketing Guide 

For inspiration on which channels to use for your communication, effective messages to convey, and how to execute powerful marketing campaigns.

“People will think I’m old” – The stigma of hearing aids.  

Despite efforts to change this for years, there is still a stigma around having a hearing loss and wearing hearing aids, which prevents many people from acting on their hearing loss and using hearing aids. 

“Poor hearing is a sign that I am getting old.” “Hearing aids are bulky and uncomfortable.” “Everyone will see them and treat me differently.” “Wearing hearing aids is a sign of weakness.”

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Hearing aid companies tend to communicate information to answer these questions, promoting “almost invisible” hearing aids, or devices that are easy to hide. WHO states that, “Marketing strategies aim to improve hearing aid uptake by promoting those which are small and barely noticeable when worn. Perversely, such practices may strengthen the belief that hearing loss and use of hearing aids are stigmatizing and should be hidden actually this kind of information enhances the level of stigma.”

Rather, communicate the numerous benefits around wearing hearing aids to help change the perception and end the stigma. The reality is that hearing aids can significantly help the hearing impaired and improve their daily lives. So, reinforce all the great values that hearing aids provide. 

The hearing industry needs to change the dialogue around hearing aids, flipping the stigma on its head, and spotlighting the level of technology that’s going to rock each customer’s world. Talk about the innovative technology, and how today’s small, effective, user-friendly hearing aids are a game-changer for the hearing-impaired. Convince your customers that the benefits of hearing aids far outweigh any concerns they might have.  

Explain to each customer that they will: 

  • Hear significantly better in almost all situations  
  • Be in closer contact with their partner or spouse  
  • Be better at communicating with family, friends, and colleagues  
  • Be much better at having and following conversations  
  • Be able to participate more fully in social gatherings and parties  
  • Follow the news, films, and TV shows, and better understand the dialogue 
  • Enjoy listening to the radio and to music  
  • Keep their brain fit and reduce the risk of cognitive decline  
  • Lower their risk of social isolation, loneliness, and depression  
  • Improve their mental and physical health  
  • Be less dependent on others  

“What if they don’t work for me?” – Wondering if hearing aids will fix their hearing problems.  

In addition to understanding the benefits of hearing aids, each customer needs to know what the actual outcome will be if they use hearing aids. Hearing is very difficult to explain and very subjective. Each customer needs to experience the difference in their hearing firsthand to understand what hearing aids will really feel like. 

As a service provider, give a demo of the hearing aid. Providing a demonstration of hearing aids can be a very powerful tool. This gives you the opportunity to show your customer how hearing aids can improve a variety of situations, such as hearing in restaurants, watching a favorite television show, talking to a friend on the phone, and enjoying music on the radio. 

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Use your audiological equipment and speakers for the demos, showing your customer what they’d experience while wearing hearing aids in a variety of scenarios, such as an environment with background noise, talking on a smartphone, and listening to music. This way, the customer can experience the benefits for themselves and, hopefully, be inspired to buy (or at least try) your solutions. 

You can also help your customers’ loved ones understand the experience by setting up a hearing simulation. Using Primus, you can easily present each customer’s hearing impairment with and without hearing aids.  For most people, this is a great WOW moment where they can see the impact of the untreated hearing loss and see how well hearing aids will improve the situation. 

 

“Technology is too complicated for me” – Fear that they’ll have difficulties using them.  

The hearing aid technology sometimes scares off potential users. Older generations – who are statistically more likely to need hearing aids – may be particularly intimidated by the thought of linking their hearing aids to their smartphones, changing settings, changing batteries etc. They might resist spending money on hearing aids because they worry that they might not be able to use them effectively.  

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When you have a customer asking questions about usability issues, they are usually very far in their buying journey and assessing the risks of the buy. Usability objections are, therefore, a good sign that they might be ready to try your solutions.  

Provide this customer with a trial and onboarding period for the hearing aids. This way, they can try the hearing aids with no financial risk. And once they experience how easy these solutions are to use, their uncertainties and fears about usability will disappear.  

Have a standard trial process in place. This should include ongoing communication with the client, letting them know what to expect, answering their questions, and troubleshooting if they’re having any issues. Provide information about basic care, storage, and cleaning. Send onboarding information with links to your website and/or the hearing aid manufacturer’s website during the trial. Moreover, you should have follow-up visits in the shop to adjust the hearing aids and have a discussion with the client. To have a plan with them, you can set personal goals during the trial period, such as try talking on the phone, listening to the TV, listening in a speech in noise environment like a restaurant and rate the benefit.  

A strong practice management system like Manage can help you expertly handle these trial periods. You can set up automated processes to support you, allowing you to send out information and reminders to the customer at regular intervals.  Manage will also help you track your buy and return rates to determine KPIs. If you want to know more about how to set this up and what to include in an onboarding process, please use our guide “converting leads to paying hearing users.”  

“I can’t afford them” – Hearing aids are expensive.  

Emphasize that hearing aids come at a variety of price points and express a willingness to work within each customer’s financial comfort zone. Also, explain that purchasing hearing aids is also an investment in the client’s overall well-being, and will be money well spent. Recognize that the cost may seem expensive for some customers and take steps to make this purchase feel less overwhelming. 

Lessen the risk of buying with a different sales strategy. Consider selling hearing aids as a service with a monthly fee, instead of insisting that the customer buy them outright. Then, every 3-5 years, the user will get new hearing aids and remain on the monthly billing cycle. Make the deal more enticing with added services and continuous visits to your shop as part of their ongoing fee. To ensure that you get the return on investment you need, tie-in the customer for a specific time period. If you have an efficient practice management system like Manage, these tasks – including billing and communication follow-ups – will be automated in the system, making it easy and seamless for your shops.  

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Also, many people are unaware that they can get reimbursement for their hearing aids, either from the government or their insurance company. Inform your clients about this during appointments and through ongoing marketing efforts. Reimbursement varies by country, so use your practice management system to make this process simple and automated. 

The price of the hearing aids should not be the customer’s biggest obstacle. The most evident example of this is Norway, where hearing aids are free of charge and their adoption rate is the highest in the world. Yet, only 42.5% of people in Norway who could benefit from a hearing aid use one. This proves that the other reasons people resist hearing aids are as important (or more important) than price. 

Hearing professionals can help their customers get past their objections to buy hearing aids. The key to success is using all the tools at your disposal to overcome your customers’ objections. Discuss the benefits, demonstrate how hearing aids can dramatically improve customers’ hearing, use Primus to show customers and their loved ones the difference between hearing with and without the devices, inform them about reimbursement opportunities, send onboarding and training information, provide hearing aid trials, set up monthly payments – and manage all these tasks using an efficient, effective practice management system like Manage

 

For more information about Auditdata’s solutions and/or to schedule a demo