Since the sale of Island Hearing to Phonak (Sonova Corporation) a few years ago there has been a lot of change in the service provision of hearing aids. It used to be many mom and pop operations, until; like many industries, vertical integration took over. This means the manufacturers have their own retail stores. Examples of this are Connect Hearing, owned by Phonak and Hearing Life Canada, Owned by Oticon.
I have had a few people ask what does it mean to be an independent clinic? How does that benefit the hearing aid user?
Here is a quick answer.
Being independent means:
- Being a solely-owned business which is not owned or operated by another Audiologist or hearing aid dispenser.
- Not being affiliated with a retail chain of clinics.
- Does not revenue share with an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor (ENT) in the same office.
- Is not contractually connected to a hearing aid manufacturer (including being required to purchase a minimum number of hearing aids, regardless of purpose).
- Competes directly with all other types of hearing clinics such as big box stores, manufacturer owned stores, and retail chains.
Using the above criteria, it is been estimated that 75% of hearing aid dispensers and Audiologists are NOT independent.
This is also NOT in the best interest of hearing aid users. There are inherent biases when you are not independent. A hearing aid practitioner or Audiologist may be drawn to recommend one hearing aid company over the other. Or, a clinician may not even have the information or training on all the potential available products in the market. As an independent clinic, this is the most detrimental to the hearing aid user. There may be a product that is better suited to that person’s unique need, but if the clinic is NOT independent, they are not as likely to have all of the information on every product available in the marketplace.
As a user of hearing aids, it is paramount that you are given all of the options. It is in your best interest to use an independent clinic so that you know that the only consideration being given in the choice on brand is your individual and unique needs; that there are no hidden agendas.
When it is time for you to make the step to improve your hearing, book an appointment with one of our independent clinicians at Broadmead or Oak Bay Hearing Clinics so you can see all of the options that are available for you.