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?