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Over-Engineered, Over-Sold And Over-Priced

It is always a pleasure to talk to our customers. Most are very supportive of what we are trying to achieve and very grateful for the huge differences in our prices versus the high street. Most are very relieved to discover that the questions and issues that they have, are shared by very many others and with our experience we are usually able to provide a quick solution. Some are genuinely very funny, usually with a wonderfully British self-deprecatory humour and it is hugely enjoyable to learn of their trials and tribulations in search of an answer to their hearing loss. Others are very revealing. Between Joan, Gary and myself we may have very many years of experience within the industry but by no means do we know it all and since we have gone on our own the high street dispensers have been less inclined to tell us what they are up to.

This week I had the chance to chat to someone who had recently been to Boots and was quite surprised to learn of the latest sales pitch. The lady had been advised that she needed quite a high technology solution and like so many before her was staggered by the price quoted which ran into thousands. The dispenser, perhaps feeling the sale slipping away from him, tried to justify the products capability by providing an every day scenario. He asked her to imagine that she was in the front seat of the car and wished to listen to someone in the back seat of the car. With the advanced new technology she could use the remote control to change the directionality of her hearing aid so that the focus was to her rear. All very impressive – could any of the HearingDirect products match this feature I was asked. The honest answer is No. While some of our products do have directionality (the HD392 and HD430) which does improve speech understanding, we do not sell products with remote controls. There are two reasons behind this. Some of the remote controls cost more than our products and to use a remote control is hardly a natural way of hearing. As I pointed out, people with normal hearing tend to turn their head towards whoever is speaking. Perhaps this is because we cannot spin our ears around to focus to the rear, perhaps it is because it is good manners to do so or perhaps it is just natural to do so. If one is driving a car then it may be dangerous to do so people tend to tip their head or look in the rear-view mirror and I suggest that fumbling for a remote control to change the directionality of your hearing aid is probably not the safest way to manage this situation.

It is just another case of high street retailers using over-engineered technology to justify the latest launch and the highest price. This is exactly what we stand against. Good quality hearing aids with directionality can really improve someone’s life. They are available on our website. The situation that requires use of a remote control to provide a rear facing speech focus, does not really exist for the vast majority of customers.

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