Online Hearing Aids And Reader Glasses, Paralells Abound

PSAPs and reader glasses, challenges for Audiologists and Opticians?

I had a really interesting conversation with an Optician the other day. We happened to be discussing the challenges for independent healthcare providers. They have already met most of the challenges we face today. If they are still in business, they are generally smart cookies.

I happened to mention that I noticed he sold readers, glasses set to a magnification to be purchased off the shelf. I asked him did he think that they had an impact on his business levels. I mean if you can buy a set of readers for a tenner, why would you pay one hundred for a set of glasses?

He said no, he thought that they were a great fill in product when people were stuck and a good intro product for people moving forward for the first time. He said an interesting thing, people’s prescriptions are always more complex than the off the shelf can handle. They know they aren’t getting what they need and they always purchase the real thing.

It got me thinking deeply about PSAPs and devices delivered online. Is there a parallel, of course there is. All of the research indicates that PSAPs don’t deliver real efficacy to the people that purchase them. Yes they help slightly, yes they may get them over the hump, but the purchasers quickly realise that they are not the answer to their problems.

With this clearly in mind, what should we do? What opportunity does this situation present us with? Should we in fact stock and sell PSAPs? Lets look at those questions and ask another one. The opportunity that the situation presents is to entice thousands of unhappy PSAP customers to our Practices. To do so we have to understand why they purchased the devices in the first place.

Many would argue that the devices are attractive because they are low priced. Many of the purchasers buy them because of pricing and budget. I can see that the price is attractive, particularly if you are on a budget. But are all these people on a budget? Is it possible that some of these people purchased the devices as starter devices, to just see what amplification is like without heavy investment?

That is at the very least possible if not probable, so with this in mind should we supply them? If we did supply them would stocking and selling PSAPs do damage to our brand? Again if we look back to the parallel situation with our Optician friend, I would have to say no. In fact stocking and selling them may well assist us in our goal. Our honest assessment of the devices and what we tell the Patients when purchasing them may well help build engagement and trust.

Consider the experience of the people that purchase PSAPs, it’s not a great one by and large. Does it affect their view of all amplification and if so how are we to mitigate it if we are not somehow involved in the process. Are we to stand as judges later, total rubbish, waste of time, words that reinforce the feeling of being taken for a fool. Would it not be better to be involved as a guide from the beginning.  

In fact if these people purchase PSAPs from us, might not they continue on the journey to hearing aids faster than they currently do? What do you think?


About Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling is an Irish hearing care blogger and the author of The Little Book of Hearing Aids and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World. He has been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession since 2007 when he qualified as a hearing aid audiologist. He has worked in private practice and for a major hearing aid manufacturer. He has become recognised as an authority within the field of hearing care and hearing aids.


  1. We already have assistive listening devices why not PSAPs? It may just be the first step in a long relationship.

  2. So, who should we purchase these PSAPs through?

  3. Sorry! Hit REPLY by mistake. My questions is the same, however:

    So, who should we purchase these PSAPs through?

    • Well now that you mention it I happen to be setting up a , just joking. Haven’t a clue Scot, was interested to find out what everyone thought. I have gone a bit Father Dougal, it’s too much too fast Ted, I come up with one good idea, I didn’t know I had to come up with more 🙂

  4. We offer the devices at the Non-profit that I work for and it hasn’t significantly impacted our business. Most of our clients who have tried the PSAP know right away if they like the device. Trying the PSAP has lead to hearing aid sales as well as the sale of the PSAP. I think however it is important that the correct devices are selected to carry. Our goal is always to provide the best possible hearing, and we followed that model when selecting the device that we stock.

Let me know what you think

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