Is Perceived Value More Of A Barrier To Hearing Aid Adoption Than Price?

  • By Geoffrey Cooling F.I.B. 16th of November 2015

Is perceived value more of a barrier to hearing aid adoption?

Value, Price, Trust & Hearing Aids

Is perceived value the real problem and have Unitron introduced something that can help us increase it?

I have spoken a lot about trust on this blog and others of late, in fact recently I had an epiphany about trust and buyers remorse which was helped along by a hearing loss advocate. So I have been thinking about trust as it pertains to our business for a while now. Identifying first of all the need to engender trust and techniques and elements to do it has been important for us as a business. In order to design websites that are commercially successful for our customers we really need to get inside the head of hearing aid users, or more importantly, prospect hearing aid users. 

I still don't think we have done it, we are getting better at driving trust and engagement, but I think we still have better to get! We rock by the way, I just thought I would tell you in case you have been hiding under a rock and don't know. And that is Irish humour at play, forgive me, it escapes from time to time.

Unitron Tech Features

I recently wrote an article on Just Stuff in relation to a Unitron paper written by Steve Eagon and Jason Mayer. We like Unitron here at Audiology Engine, I know Jason of old from his Phonak UK days and I have a good relationship with Unitron UK. However, they don't ask me to do favours or write stuff for them, I thought I would let you all know that.

The Perception of Value

While reading the paper and writing the article a question struck me, is price really a barrier to hearing aid adoption? I know that we have accepted it as so and I do know that in some cases money is tight or non-existent for people. However, outside of those cases and in the main, is price really the obstacle? I have a sneaking feeling that the perception of value may be the issue. 

Again, this goes back to trust, I said in the article that "Trust is not something that necessarily comes easy to everyone when they are about to make a big-ticket purchase of something that they know absolutely nothing about". That is part of the key to my thoughts, the trust and perception of value delivered of prospect hearing aid users is not at high levels. Experienced users understand the value of hearing aids, however, they only become to understand that value with use. Is this the key to the conundrum that we are looking for?

Value, is an abstract concept, we talk about reconnecting to your life, a more active social life etc etc. However, when you are sitting staring at a six grand bill, those things are pretty abstract. A holiday in Mauritius for the same money is a whole lot less abstract. We talk about luxury goods being aspirational, people aspire to owning them because of the lifestyle or what it says about them. Why do we blindly accept that hearing aids can't be aspirational products? Isn't living an active and happy life aspirational? However, if we deliver tangibles, tangibles that can convince them of the benefits, can we change the equation?

Increasing The Perception of Value

One way to increase the perception of value for a prospect is to let them try hearing aids out. In fact many hearing healthcare professionals around the world do just that. However, that strategy has it's own issues, in particular when the prospect might not do well in some situations with the aids that they have chosen. I think that this is where Unitron's latest upgrade has closed the circle. The addition of Log It All to the Flex:trial and Flex:upgrade allows us as clinicians to deal with this issue openly and honestly. 

Log It All allows us to clearly show them the situations they were in and why that level of technology may have failed them. The Flex:upgrade system allows us to show the differences in the different technology levels. With some hearing aid features we are increasing the perception of value of hearing aids in a completely non-partisan way. We don't need to put any effort into convincing the prospect, the technology and its' benefits allows the prospect to do that themselves. 

Try Before You Buy & Trust

The other thing here is the trust that is enforced by a try before you buy approach. If you are confident enough to let them try it out it is only right for them to assume that you trust your product. Therefore, the level of trust in you and your product is enforced. That is important, because when trust is increased, perception of value can increase based on that trust. We know that to be true, because when we deliver websites that drive trust and engagement, enquiry rates go up. 

I think that these Unitron technologies can help us to dramatically increase the perceived value. I would like to hear your thoughts, are we too quick to just accept that price is the real issue for non-adoption? 

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