In light of the ACCC’s recent report on sales practices in the hearing industry, and Mackay Hearing’s response, Mackay Hearing’s Principal Audiologist and Director Jodie Miles thought it would be useful to share some handy hints for consumers requiring services from hearing clinics.
“I empathise with consumers who are bombarded with slick advertising and a wide range of services and products to choose from. It can be hard finding a clinician that you trust and a level of service meeting your expectations” Ms Miles said. “Hopefully our tips can help consumers confidently navigate their way through the hearing industry”.
Being fully informed by your clinician
Your clinician should give you a full understanding of:
- your hearing loss (ask for the Audiogram to be fully explained)
- all hearing aid options available including different features and prices
- reasons for the device being recommended
- whether prices include important follow-up support
You may have concerns if:
- you feel rushed, not listened to or unable to ask questions
- a limited range or single device is discussed
- reasons for the recommendation aren’t explained or don’t match your needs
- the device contains features you don’t want or need
- you feel pressured in any way to purchase
You have the right to ask:
- for prices and features in the full hearing aid range relevant to your hearing loss
- if the clinician is paid more to sell, or if the clinic makes more money from, particular devices
- why the clinic only sells certain brands or types of devices
Shopping around for a price and level of service that suits you
Ask for a copy of your hearing test results (including audiogram). You have paid for the service and we believe your results are your property! Having your results can make it easier to shop around. Also, obtain a quote for the recommended device.
Some clinics offer free trials and this is highly recommended for consumers. Using the hearing aid in your daily life will give you a good idea of whether it works for you. If you trial a device, understand the terms and conditions, including when the device has to be returned.
If you have any concerns with the clinician or clinic, get a second opinion. At the second clinic, make sure you are fully informed and watch out for any warning signs (see above).
If the second clinic recommends a different device, fully understand its features, performance and reliability. The price and your trust / confidence in the clinician (go with your gut instinct) will also allow you to weigh up which device and level of service is right for you.
When comparing prices, it is important to know if follow-up support is included. Follow-up support can solve issues and help you get the most from your device.
Staying in control
Purchasing a hearing aid is a major decision. Take your time and carefully consider all options available. Never feel obligated, pressured or rushed into purchasing.
During appointments, ask questions until you understand. Take notes if you have to.
If you have the slightest of doubts – sleep on it. Also, it’s OK to say no.
Keep receipts and paperwork. If the product does not perform as it should, you may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. Consultations to fix problems should be at no extra cost if your initial purchase included follow-up support.
If something goes wrong, speak up! The ACCC is monitoring the hearing industry and you can also report unscrupulous practices to professional bodies such as Audiology Australia and the Hearing Services Program (if services obtained through that program).
- ACCC Report – Issues around the sale of hearing aids, Consumer and clinician perspectives
- ACCC Guidance Material – Hearing aids and devices – information to help make an informed choice
- ACCC Press Release – 03/03/2017 – Hearing aid sector put on notice
- ACCC website
- Mackay Hearing response to ACCC report – March 2017
- Mackay Hearing news article on ACCC investigation – July 2016
Find out more about Mackay Hearing at mackayhearing.com.au or call 4952 4649.