What Does Your Hearing Aid Product Mix Look Like?
With the hearing health care landscape changing drastically due to the recent introduction of over-the-counter hearing aids (OTCs) on the market, you may be reassessing and adjusting the types of hearing devices you offer your patients. We now have the broadest array of technology ever available to assist our patients in achieving better hearing. From OTC aids and entry level devices all the way up to cochlear implants, our toolbox has never been fuller.
While OTC devices are dominating the headlines right now and creating a time of flux, it’s also prudent to consider the rest of your offerings and how they are presented to your patients. Adding a high-end, next-generation hearing solution like Earlens to round out your product mix could be the perfect choice to give your practice a competitive advantage and draw in more patients.
Earlens is a custom, nonsurgical implant that’s like a contact lens for the ear.
In Earlens, a processor programmed by an audiologist is worn behind the patient’s ear. It sends an audio signal through an ear tip to a nonsurgical lens that an ENT physician has placed directly on the patient’s eardrum. When the lens receives the signal, a small motor in the lens gently vibrates the three bones in the eardrum to activate the ear’s natural hearing system. The result? Fuller, richer sound across the entire spectrum of sound.
The lens and the ear tip are custom made to ensure a comfortable and stable fit for the patient. Other than periodically adding mineral oil to their ear to ensure the lens remains in place and coming into your office for three to four appointments for follow-up care, patients can wear Earlens for about three years before needing a replacement.
Who Is a Candidate for Earlens?
Most patients with hearing loss can wear Earlens. However, Earlens is not appropriate for individuals with the following:
- Profound, high-frequency hearing loss
- Narrow or tiny ear canals
- Hourglass-shaped ear canals
- Osteoma (boney bumps in the ear)
- Excessive earwax
Earlens is an option for many traditional hearing aid patients looking for a higher-tech hearing option. Of course, this advanced technology comes with a higher price tag—Earlens costs around $12,000 per pair.
At US ENT, we’ve found that it’s best for practices that offer Earlens to present it as an option to all patients who would benefit from it—never assume that some wouldn’t be interested in it due to the cost. It’s up to the patient to determine if Earlens is the right hearing solution for them.
Why Patients Love What They Hear
Earlens’ direct-drive technology stimulates the eardrum, giving patients access to a broader range of frequencies than typically available. With access to more frequencies, patients gain even greater speech understanding and better sound quality creating a more “high-def” experience.
Patients also appreciate the convenience Earlens provides—with Earlens, they can swim and shower worry-free and stream music, calls and more from their iPhone® to Earlens.
Why a Comprehensive Product Offering Is Good for Your Practice
Keeps Patients in the Medical Model—Patients want to know all their options. As a practitioner of medically based audiology, you are the best option to provide the full spectrum of options and care to your patients. Options that require the collaboration of an audiologist and an ENT physician, such as Earlens which requires placing and removing the lens and taking deep earmolds to create the custom-made lens and ear tip, or cochlear implants that require a surgical procedure, help ensure you’ll never lose patients to a big-box store or online retailer.
Boosts Your Brand’s Image—By offering a more comprehensive hearing solution selection that includes all of the top-end options, you can set your practice apart from your competitors, establishing it as an expert in cutting-edge hearing technology.
Attracts More Patients—People like options. Offering the full spectrum of treatment can help bring new patients into your practice, allowing you to grow your revenue and contribute to your practice’s financial success.
The Importance of Treating Hearing Loss
As you know, hearing loss is a growing public health issue that affects millions of people in the United States. Yet it remains vastly undertreated, contributing to various health conditions, including cognitive decline. The Lancet Commission recently identified hearing loss as a key modifiable risk factor for preventing dementia in people 45–65.1
Since it’s crucial that patients with hearing loss get treatment, Earlens and traditional hearing aids are an effective medical solution your practice can provide to help slow or stave off the development of hearing loss comorbidities.
Help your patients hear better so they can live better by offering the full spectrum of hearing technology. Ask your regional manager about expanding the spectrum of product offerings in your practice today.
1 Nierengartden, M. (2022). Hearing loss: a modifiable risk factor for dementia. ENT Today. https://www.enttoday.org/article/hearing-loss-a-modifiable-risk-factor-for-dementia/