Today’s episode of the podcast features Geoff Cooling of Hearing Aid Know. Geoff has been working in the hearing care industry for 15+ years, and runs one of the most highly trafficked hearing aid consumer websites. Located in Dublin, Geoff constantly writes some of the most engaging and thought-provoking articles pertaining to the world of hearing aids.
Recently, Geoff tweeted that he predicts there to be more change experienced by the hearing aid industry in the next 5 years, than the previous 50 years combined. That’s where our conversation begins, as Geoff explains his rationale behind this statement, citing a confluence of various trends converging together. In essence, he sees the technology increasingly becoming more mature, capable of supporting an expanding set of use cases, combined with new consumer expectations, and the impending legislative changes due out in the US next year.
In light of this confluence of trends, Geoff believes that it’s paramount for hearing care professionals to prepare their business models to flip toward being more service-centric, as opposed to the product-centric models that are pervasive today. In Geoff’s opinion, hybrid, “blended” models with service packages position the professional as experts. As consumers become more saturated with options, the demand for expert assistance rises.
Being a provision of knowledgeable assistance is at the heart of what Geoff sees as being the key to success in the face of change. As he points out, the product, the hearing aid, is actually an addition to the service. “Patients need someone to test their hearing, fit those hearing aids exceptionally well and verify them, train them on how to get the most value out of the devices, and then work with them over time to make sure they’re using them properly.”
In Geoff’s opinion, when it comes to OTC hearing aids, “we can either take our ball and go home and decide we want no part of this, or we can accept that this is the new normal. We can help and guide these folks from the beginning and expose them to our value early on.” This statement, to me, is on the money. Soon enough, hearing care professionals will be faced with the decision of whether they want to accommodate for new types of patients interested in new types of products. The status quo is about to be challenged, both in terms of the technology that the devices provide, and also how people go about acquiring the devices they choose.
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