“Bundled pricing" refers to the services and accessories an audiologist provides as part of the overall hearing aid purchase. Throughout the fitting process, an audiologist must take into account the frequencies where the hearing loss occurs, the individual's level of perception (people with the same hearing loss can "perceive and process" sound very differently), the presence of other symptoms (such as tinnitus or hyperacusis), and the technological capabilities of the particular hearing instruments.
Also, because hearing loss can worsen over time, the audiologist must re-evaluate the individual every 1-2 years and adjust the hearing aids to compensate for any change in hearing. For these reasons, some audiologists include the cost of these services in the price of the hearing instruments. They feel that not including these services would lead to several costly office visits, particularly for those who require multiple adjustments or frequent cleanings to remove excessive wax build up.
At Appalachian Audiology, we include the following in the purchase price of all hearing instruments:
How Market Penetration Increases the Price of Hearing Aids
Market Penetration is the extent to which a product is recognized and purchased within a particular market. Apple enjoys enormous market share and brand recognition. The iPad® is considered the most successful launch of new technology in the history of the United States. Over 350 million iPods® have been sold since its introduction in October, 2001. Over 66% of all items purchased through the iTunes® store are downloaded onto another Apple product. Because their products dominate the market, Apple can lower their prices accordingly.
As of this date, hearing aids do not enjoy the same level of market penetration. Dr. Bettie Borton states the following:
Hearing aids still have a fairly low market penetration. Of the 37 million Americans who might benefit from amplification, only about 1 in 5 actually utilize the available hearing technology. We have not seen the same price reductions that are inherent to widely used electronic devices like TV's, computers, cell phones, etc., found in virtually every household. So, what's the result? Without sufficient market penetration, the product pricing remains higher for everyone.
How Advances in Technology Have Impacted the Pricing of Wireless Accessories
Remotes and wireless accessories for hearing instruments have increased in price as the technology in hearing aids has progressed. In order to access and adjust the multiple programming features in modern hearing aids, manufacturers have had to equip wireless accessories with advanced technology. This has led to an understable adjustment in the pricing structure for these accessories.
To learn about Bluetooth® compatible accessories, click here.