What Change Will Technology Bring

Interesting moves afoot Watson!

So Starkey have officially announced their entrance into the Made For iPhone battle. They are to launch the Halo at the end of this month. It looks like this segment will just grow and grow. But wait there’s more, Oticon have made known their intention to enter the race. There was also a memo of understanding recently mooted that all hearing aid manufacturers in Europe would sign up to a defined bluetooth protocol.

It looks like all hearing instruments of the major manufacturers may be iPhone compatible, as we have now come to understand it, within a very short period of time. You know this can only be a good thing for our profession. This type of technology will encourage early adoption. Hearing aid by hearing aid this technology will dismantle the stigma of hearing loss. It will bring challenges with it, oh yes it will bring challenges. It will bring us face to face with a different Patient set, a Patient set that we are not used to dealing with. It may well put pressure on our profession in ways we weren’t expecting.

But believe me, all of these things were going to happen one way or the other. The question was only when they would. I think that those challenges will be well-balanced with benefits. Dealing with this new Patient subset, this demographic encouraged to move forward by the introduction of these devices will force us to reconsider our services, our businesses and how we plan to continue in Practice.

They will be more knowledgeable Patients, pros and cons here, Patients who are more knowledgeable are more demanding. However I think that can be balanced by the fact that they should be more involved in their rehabilitation. Because they are more knowledgeable, they will have researched more and understand the process better. This has to be a good thing for us and the understanding of what we really bring to the party.

If they are more involved with their rehab, will they want more power? I think we know the answer to that, we have had patient advocates on this blog explain that clearly. Again there will be a balance, differing Patients will want differing levels of control. The plus side is again that if they want any level of control it increases their involvement and ownership of their rehab. Again, this has to be a good thing for us.

This technology, the differing demographic that it will encourage and the general changes in our demographic may actually reduce price pressure. There has been a lot of talk about baby boomers and we are starting to see them trickle into our Practices. They are a different animal than we are used to dealing with. They respond differently, they want different things and their knowledge and research levels are very different.

I think that as their understanding grows, the traditional focus on price for new users will ease. It will never of course go away and some people, no matter what, will focus on price. I think overall though, many will realise that it is more than just a consumer product. Better hearing is more than an off the shelf solution. I think that with that realisation, people will begin to also look beyond the product.

I think that we have to remain lithe, I think we need to be open to change. Open to differing service delivery models, differing business models. I think the Practice of the future will be a mish mash of traditional and new. There may well be a majority that want a traditional delivery but there will definitely be some who want it their way on their terms. I think the key for us, the most important thing,  is that we need to consider how WE can deliver it.

What Do You Think? 

About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am the author here at Just Audiology Stuff. I have been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession for several years now. I initially worked as a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a large national retailer in Ireland. After several years in Practice I was approached to work for a manufacturer, where I was employed for five years. I am now the Co Founder of a business called Audiology Engine. We design websites, undertake content marketing and generally look after everything digital for audiological practices. I am also a contributor to many hearing profession periodicals and websites. I have written two commercially available books, The Little Book of Hearing Aids which is written for hearing aid consumers and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World which is written for Audiology Practice Owners. They are both available in Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I also write for consumers on the website Hearing Aid Know, which is a website with the mission of demystifying hearing aids, their types and their technology. I have a great interest in commercial strategy as it applies to Healthcare in general and specifically to Hearing Healthcare. I also have a great interest in the psychology of sales and human interaction. I have been involved with social media for some time, both personally and professionally. I find the engagement and discourse on some social media channels fascinating. I instituted social media strategy for the company I worked for as an experiment. That experiment soon spread throughout the company and I am proud to say that the company is probably one of the most active in the industry. I would like to point out that all views, opinions and thoughts here are mine own. Unless of course they have been planted by the pod people, you just can’t take your eyes off the pod people. Those views do not necessarily reflect upon any views or opinions held by my employer, if I ever get another one. I think that our industry is in the middle of a time of huge change, I think that the change will be forced by both internal and external pressure. I think that private Independent Healthcare Practices will have to be smart and lithe of feet in order to meet these changes. I hope that some of my blatherings are of benefit to those Practices, Independent Hearing Healthcare Practices need to survive. I believe that if that occurs it will be of real benefit to Patients. I hope that I, and my writings will play a small part in their continued success.

3 Comments

  1. Yes, this is a very timely writing Geoffrey! I agree that the patient, in this current digital age, is quite involved in the process of choosing devices that will link to their phones. The LiNX is quite good, and the one I am familiar, however, I would have hoped it would allow a connection with the iPhone below the 5 and the previous generation of iPads.

    • Geoffrey Cooling

      I think it’s a hardware issue mostly. Different Bluetooth radioes. Nevertheless a huge and important leap forward for the wider profession. People say, no sign of the boomers, well now for the first time we have given them a reason to come.

  2. It’s an interesting perspective, and who knows what this change will bring, but I think it will be good for the industry- for at least a while. Sure the implications of this kind of technology might spell trouble for hearing providers, but I think that change is quite a ways off. I think the stigma (as you mentioned) is one of the largest things keeping people from aids, so if made for iPhone hearing aids can help reduce that stigma (along with access to information), I think we may be able to absorb lower prices due to the increased volume of patients. Of course, it’s all speculative, but I have enjoyed fitting these made for iphone devices, and love the freedom and control it gives people.

Let me know what you think