Is Audiology Dead or Dying?

3D render depicting an overgrown neglected cemetery in misty twilight.

It used to be that people in audiology were pretty upbeat.

Lately, for some practices, the mood has shifted from excited to anxious.

What happened? There are significant developments in the industry that are upsetting audiologists.

The first is the introduction of new, low-cost hearing aids and over-the-counter hearing devices.

Then there are third-party negotiators trying to lower reimbursements for hearing aid fittings and hearing tests.

Add in increased competition, and things like a pandemic and economic uncertainty, and some people are really worried.

People are telling me that what I predicted in 2008 was finally here: The Death of Audiology.

Is this true? Is audiology really dying?

In a word, no. Audiology isn’t dying, but it is changing rapidly. Every year, changes in the industry send audiologists into a panic, causing them to pronounce the imminent death of the profession. Years ago, it was consolidation that was killing us; the year before that, it was online hearing aid sales.

Fear of changes like these can be a HUGE distraction. Complaining to manufacturers about consolidation, online hearing aid sales, or sales to third-party companies isn’t going to stop the trend.

Instead of running scared, move past the fear and blame to action. If you want to grow your practice, focus on what is working for your practice, and keep up with the changing market. Those who can adapt will survive. In fact, some of these changes are likely to lead to increased sales over time.

Here are five things you can do to adapt to the changing audiology market:

  1. Focus on your reputation. Collect online reviews from patients and feature them on your practice’s website, on social media platforms, and on online review sites.
  2. Market consistently to private-pay patients. Yes, they’re still out there. Some patients prefer to pay for services out of pocket rather than going through an insurance provider. Market your practice, services, and devices to these patients. Private pay provides your practice with better profit margins: less goes to the insurance companies, and more goes to growing your bottom line. (Pssst, we can help you attract more private-pay patients – let’s talk.)
  3. Use both online and offline marketing channels. Even in today’s internet-connected society, offline marketing through direct mail, newspaper, and TV ads still works—if it’s done effectively. You should also reach out to current and potential patients through your practice’s website, social media networks, email marketing campaigns, organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
  4. Consider an unbundled model. Charging separately for different services and devices, rather than offering them in bundled packages, can improve your practice’s profit margins.
  5. Adopt a Growth Mindset. Adopting this mindset can help your practice not just survive but thrive, in today’s market.

There will always be factors and events in the market that are outside your control. You can control how you react and how you leverage the changes to build your practice.

Instead of worrying about The Death of Audiology, tell yourself, “If I do more than my local and national competitors, I will dominate in my market.”

Need more help? Talk to us.