Blamey and Saunders Purchased by Sonova

In an interesting turn of events Blamey and Saunders of Australia has been purchased by Sonova outright. Blamey and Saunders are a fascinating business that were one of the first online hearing aid sellers that we at Hearing Aid Know felt confident to support. What does the sale mean though and why has Sonova chosen to purchase? Let’s take a look at the story.

Online Sales, Then a Blended Model

As I said, Blamey and Saunders were one of very few online sellers of hearing aids that we would support. That support was always based on the fact that both the devices and and the infrastructure supporting them were designed for online sales.

While the business was successful, it became obvious to them that a purely online model wasn’t going to serve the population they were trying to reach. They then made the decision to move towards a blended model, one where many of their customers bought online and got on with it, but others could purchase online and visit a bricks and mortar outlet to have them fitted or for follow up.

I said quite a while ago that this type of blended model made perfect sense, but only really in the context of their device offering and infrastructure. There were persistent rumours that the company was finding it difficult to be profitable, mainly because of the cost of device manufacture which had to be undertaken in Australia and never really reached a profitable scale. So from that point of view, a sale makes perfect sense.

Why Sonova?

I think that many of the big publicly owned brands are looking towards a future of changing times. Sonova is one of the biggest in the business and they need to cover all possible market channels and strategies moving forward.

The purchase of Blamey and Saunders really does two things, for the Blamey and Saunders business, it brings the scale and purchasing power it needs to succeed moving forward. For Sonova, it buys them expertise and a working blended channel.

Blended is Probably the future

Myself and others have spoken about the possible futures for the hearing aid business model. I said not so long ago that I believed that if hearing aid brands went direct to consumer that the profession would still play a part in the model.

Likewise, I believe that if the major hearing aid brands release OTC devices in the short term. It could be that we could play a major role in that as well. Moving forward, it seems to me that Sonova at least see a blended model as a possible route forward. I would tend to agree with them.

I don’t necessarily believe that it will be the only show in town though. I think it will probably be just one more channel. The next few years will be fascinating.

About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am an Irish author and hearing loss blogger. Just Audiology Stuff is my personal site where I explore the hearing profession and industry. 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. You can read more about what I get up to on my Author page.

7 Comments

  1. At the end of the day it’s about improving people’s choice. OTC still seems to be a big worry for many but if products are genuine (I.e.are hearing aids and not some dumbed down 3rd rate offering) AND purchasers know how to access professional help and CAN access that help then I see this as a positive move forward. Just need to see OTC options in the public sector too!

  2. Dr Elaine Saunders

    Blamey Saunders Hears has always been a blended model of care. I have been firmly of the view that this is an important aspect of client centered care, and the need for high quality face to face audiology for those who need or want that service. All clients can access face to face or teleaudiology services. This has always been our philosophy and practice. Check out
    https://www.igi-global.com/book/tele-audiology-optimization-hearing-healthcare/216029

    • Thank you for the correction, when did you first introduce the physical face to face? By the way love your company and your thought processes around delivery.

      • Thanks for the feedback Geoff
        The face to face was introduced at the same time as our official launch as a company in 2011. The model is both technology and service driven. At the time we launched we were being incubated by the Bionic Ear Institute, with excellent sound rooms. I have been interested in service models for many years, and you may have read how we have adapted the Goldstein and Stephens model to the blended model of care. Although their work didn’t anticipate telehealth, it’s a great fit. You may also be interested that Swinburne University will be running an online Graduate Certificate in teleaudiology from this August. The website needs updating. It is available for International students. I’d be happy to write you an article on this. I am an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne.
        https://www.swinburne.edu.au/study/course/Graduate-Certificate-of-Teleaudiology-GC-TAUD/local
        Elaine

  3. Myself agrees.

  4. To me, the by-far-the-most interesting thing is that Blamey Saunders has the ADRO product. Adaptive Dynamic range Optimization. Linear gain in a different way. It’s about time manufacturers took note of this. The closest thing I found to ADRO was Oticon’s Speech Guard feature. I am very surprised ADRO has not been taken up any earlier by mainstream manufacturers. It’ll be interesting indeed to see what Sonova does with ADRO!

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