Hearing aids are exceptionally expensive for most people and despite advances in technology and cheaper electronics they have not reduced in price. For example, Ireland’s largest hearing aid retailer sells a ten channel hearing aid with an almost identical specification as Blackberry Hearing’s Coselgi™ Melodia 10, for €5,500 a pair! The Melodia 10 sells for €1698 a pair – an extraordinary saving! We guarantee the same quality and offer a no quibble return policy to back it up. Our hearing aids are manufactured by Coselgi™, owned by one of the world’s leading makers of hearing aids, renowned for its technology and quality. Unlike any other online offering, we offer the services of a fully qualified audiologist to test, deliver and fit your hearing aid in your own home. All included in the price! The article below is an excerpt from one published in the USA by Bloomberg Business, but the same applies to Ireland and the UK. It’s worth a read!
Bloomberg Business Article on the Cost of Laptops
In 1952, the Sonotone 1010 hearing aid hit the market. Priced at $229.50, the device stood out as exceptional. It was the first consumer product to rely on a transistor, which Bell Labs had invented a few years earlier. The transistor proved such a leap forward in miniaturizing hearing aids and modulating sound that 97 percent of hearing aids were based on transistors by 1954.
In subsequent decades, hearing aids have made dramatic leaps forward in performance, but they certainly have not enjoyed the same price/performance curves of the most famous transistor-based invention—the computer chip. In inflation-adjusted dollars, that 1952 hearing aid would cost about $2,000. The average retail price for a hearing aid today, though, runs from $3,000 to $6,000. If you know anyone who has bought one recently, you’ve probably heard them gripe about how expensive the devices—which insurers in the U.S. do not typically cover—cost.
To get at the heart of a hearing aid’s cost, we can turn to data unearthed by a German regulator (PDF) studying the major manufacturers. Based on this information, it costs about $250 to make a device that will get sold to an audiologist retailer for $1,000. Hearing aid makers spend $75 per device on research and development and $250 on marketing and then chalk up $425 in profit. The retailers then mark up the price $2,000 to cover overheard and make a profit, resulting in a $3,000 price tag.
My dad, like so many dads, comes prepared with plenty of common sense on matters like these. He recently paid $6,000 for a new pair of hearing aids. They were not covered by insurance but do work very well—a blessing to my mother’s sanity. “The price includes adjustments and cleaning as often as needed,” dad says. “Except for the cost, I am pleased with them. They really should not cost more than a laptop.” Indeed.
While hearing aids don’t have the same sales volumes as laptops or iPads, they do sell by the tens of millions per year. They’re also much simpler devices. The typical hearing aid has a microphone to pick up sound and what’s known as a digital signal processor, which filters out the stuff you don’t want to hear and then amplifies the stuff you do want to hear, then sends it to a speaker. Digital signal processors are commodity parts used in a wide range of electronics. They come cheap.
Audiologists have maintained that they need to add those overhead costs in order to pay for the stores at which they can give people a personal touch, including cleanings and adjustments.
Six companies dominate the hearing aid manufacturing business, including Siemens (SI) and Phonak. “The big six account for 95 percent or so of the market,” says Freuler. “The technology has become quite similar over the last couple of years, and they all make basically the same product”