Why do I have to request your hearing aid prices? Why don’t you just publish them online?
Low hearing aid prices online
In 2009 Value Hearing & Tinnitus Solutions was the first Australian hearing aid company to openly and extensively publish our low hearing aid prices online for all to see. We have always been and always will be supporters of offering hearing aid clients the best value in hearing aids. We also strongly believe in transparency. The practice of publishing our hearing aid prices online unfortunately led to some potentially serious complications. Some suppliers and competitors became very upset, which resulted in a few major legal challenges. We felt we were essentially faced with losing some of our most valuable hearing aid suppliers, which could have caused our unique business model to fail, meaning higher prices to you.
We were faced with these three options:
We could significantly increase our hearing aid prices to be consistent with the rest of the industry an publish them however we liked.
We could keep publishing our low hearing aid prices online and risk losing a number of the very best hearing aid suppliers in Australia and possibly fail as a business and not achieve our vision of a better deal for hearing aid users in Australia.
We could keep our prices low, but instead of openly publishing them and causing friction with competition and suppliers, we would only provide our low hearing aid prices when directly requested by clients. What the competition cannot see does not hurt them.
We chose option three (3) and that is why you can still enjoy our low hearing aid prices today. You simply have to ask for our hearing aid prices using our Online Quote form and we will provide them to you with relevant and up to date information.
Even though being essentially forced to remove our hearing aid price list from our website was upsetting to us and our clients, it actually turned out to be a win-win situation for all involved:
You win as you can still get low prices on a complete range of the very best hearing aids in Australia, by simply requesting them from us.
You win as our improved relationships with our various suppliers means better wholesale discounts, resulting in even better value passed on to you.
We win as we are able to continue offering you the largest range of the best hearing aids at low prices while retaining favourable relationships with our suppliers. We also never get caught out by out-dated prices floating around on the internet somewhere, potentially misleading clients.
We are slowly forcing our competitors to offer the you, our target consumer a fairer deal through our aggressive pricing and increasing market share. Most of them do not achieve the volume we do, so their prices are still higher than ours, but at least they are moving in the right direction.
So please ask if you want to see our low hearing aid prices for yourself.
NOTE: We do not provide our prices to competitors, suppliers or their agents. So if you are any of these, do not even attempt to ask. We also reserve the right not to provide prices at our sole discretion and without a reason.
Can hearing aids cause further hearing loss as it makes things louder?
No, not if properly fitted by a qualified hearing professional with you in the room. However, all bets are off for internet bought or self programmable hearing aids.
To understand how this is possible, you need to understand a bit more about how hearing aids work. Hearing aids do not indiscriminately make everything louder. They add gain (volume) only to the areas where you have hearing loss if fitted properly. They work a bit like graphical equalizers, and can be adjusted to give you more at some points on your hearing and less in others. Not only do they give more volume at different pitch/frequency/register ranges, but they also amplify different loudness of sounds differently using compression.
A quality digital hearing aid can be set to boost soft sounds differently from speech level sounds and again differently from loud sounds. We want to make soft sounds loud enough so you can hear soft speech clearly, but not so loud that you hear even the faintest noise or even the sound of air molecules hitting the microphones (sounds like a hiss), which could be quite dsitracting.
Moderate speech level sounds should be moderately loud and clear without being too loud or distant.
Loud sounds should be loud, but not uncomfortable and certainly at levels which could further permanently damage your hearing.The flip side of the coin is that you don't want the loud sounds too soft as this could mean that someone speaking close to you, where the sound reaches the ear louder, could end up being too soft, while people speaking far away could drown out the closer speaker!
Another level of protection in quality hearing aids is the Maximum Power Output MPO), which is the absolute maximum allowable level the hearing aid allows into the ear and anything louder than this is simply "chopped off". This is the last level of protection. Again if this level is set too low it could cause distortion of louder speech, if it is set too loud it can cause further hearing loss.
So you could say there is a "Goldilocks zone" where hearing aids work just right and outside this they either don't provide optimal benefit or could actually cause harm. At Value Hearing & Tinnitus Solutions we use professionally qualified audiologists, who are trained in the latest hearing aids and fitting techniques to fit our quality hearing aids using real ear measurements that show them what is actually going on at your eardrum relative to your hearing loss. This leads to better sounding, safer hearing aids which provide more benefit to you.
That is also why it is important to get hearing aids professionally fitted in a face to face manner and to steer away from poor quality hearing aids.
Will I be getting poorer service because I am paying less for the hearing aids?
We are aware that there are some competing providers who are trying to protect their high profit margins by claiming that you are paying for their “high” quality of service.
Value Hearing & Tinnitus Solutions has the same high level of service and care as any other hearing services provider in the market. As a matter of fact our level of service might actually be higher as our core business model is geared towards best servicing the self funded clientele. We provide many free batteries with all hearing aid purchases to ensure you have as little as possible additional expenses in the first year. We even give you free visits to use for up to three years after you bought your hearing aid from us. Most other providers might only give you free support for the first year.
When you are dealing with Value Hearing & Tinnitus Solutions, you are dealing with well qualified and well experienced Audiologists registered with Audiology Australia and holding Clinical Certificates of Competence.
We specialise in providing low priced hearing aids to private clients only and as such all our services and methods geared to providing the best care for our client market. Most other providers are generalists, which likely makes their services less well targeted than ours.
Do you offer a trial period or money back guarantee?
We offer all out hearing aid clients a 60 day money back guarantee with their purchase. 60 days is a very important number as it is about the time for the brain to fully adapt to the sound of new hearing aids and also allows some time to get past the initial honeymoon period, where you think the hearing aids cannot be faulted. By doing this we ensure that our clients are truly happy with their purchase, but if they aren't they could try another model or if they prefer, get their money back.
This means you do pay for the hearing aids when you receive them, but you have up to 60 days to change your mind. During these 60 days you can swap to a different hearing aid brand or model, without penalty. In the event of an exchange, you only have to pay or get refunded the difference between the two models plus you get another 60 days with the new model. We allow up to 2 such changes per client to ensure you end up with the hearing aid that will best address your needs.
If you feel you are not getting the benefit that you anticipated or for whatever other reason, you may return the hearing aids in working condition within the 60 days and get a refund minus a small service fee of $150 per hearing aid, to cover our clinical time and administration up to that point. This is a no fuss process as we would rather give you your money back, than have a disgruntled customer.
Which payment methods do you accept?
We accept Cash, MasterCard, Visa, Eftpos and direct debit (needs to be cleared before hearing aids can be delivered).
What support do I get when my hearing aid/s break down?
We train all our clients during the fitting and follow-up period how to maintain and troubleshoot their hearing aids. This means that you should be able to identify and correct most minor issues by the time your 60 day money back period has expired.
We also tend to recall all our hearing aid clients for a hearing aid check every six months to catch and correct any problems before they become larger issues. This hearing aid check is free for the first three years after purchasing the hearing aids.
We are always just a phone call or email away and we are always happy to help any of our clients no matter how trivial the hearing aid issue might seem.
We are able to perform minor hearing aid repairs in the office and can troubleshoot and detect any major issues. In the rare event that a major fault has been identified while the hearing aid is under warranty, we will send the hearing aid, at our expense, to the hearing aid manufacturer to be repaired. Repairs out of warranty carry a repair fee. We endeavour to have available for use a loan hearing aid while yours is away for repair. Most hearing aid repairs take under two weeks to return to us from the date they were sent.
Do I need to insure my hearing aids?
Hearing aid insurance is highly recommended as they are small and valuable items and an important investment in your quality of life. You will be wearing your hearing aids often and don't want the fear of losing them or accidentally damaging them lingering in your thoughts all the time. Insurance gives you the freedom to use the hearing aids when and where you choose with absolute peace of mind.
You can obtain insurance for your hearing aids through your home and contents insurer. You need to make sure that if you use your own regular insurer that you specify the hearing aids for use in and outside the home and that the insurance is comprehensive for all eventualities.
As always, it pays to shop around to get the best deal.
Are you contracted to provide government hearing services to pensioners?
No, we chose not to be as it is likely to dilute our service offering.
As an independently owned, privately run practice designed to deliver the best possible service to the self funded client, we do NOT provide hearing services under the Office of Hearing Services scheme for pension holders. With this is mind, if you wish to purchase hearing aids that are better than what you are entitled to under the pension system (often referred to as top-ups) you will find our hearing aid prices are very competitive. Any purchase of hearing aids with Value Hearing includes three years of consultation without charge so you can enjoy high end quality hearing aids without any compromise on service.
We encourage all clients who are eligible for the voucher system to contact us to discuss this in more detail or to arrange an appointment with one of our qualified Audiologist for a second opinion.
Do you offer a maintenance and battery plan similar to the government system for eligible pensioners/veterans?
No, but we do provide you with 66 free hearing aid batteries per hearing aid when you first buy the aid. This should last you between one year and two years, depending on battery size and usage patterns.
After that Batteries can be bought at $5 per pack of six batteries which equates to an average expense of about $35 to $45 per year, which is on par with the fee charged on the government maintenance scheme. Your three year manufacturer's warranty covers any repairs in the first three years and your five free visits, which starts once follow-up is completed, covers you for some adjustments as required.
As a pensioner or eligible veteran you need to consider the savings and weigh up all the pros and cons before deciding whether to get hearing aids privately or through the government system. We will always endeavour to ensure you have sufficient information to make the right decision for you.
Do you offer unbundled hearing aid pricing?
To unbundle hearing aid pricing or not?
Our standard model of hearing aid provision is to give you one low price for the hearing aids including all the services that is normally incurred during the first three years of hearing aid use. This model was decided upon after years of comparing the pros and cons of each hearing aid provision model. We have carefully researched, priced and packaged our hearing aid offering to be extremely competitive, while still offering maximum client satisfaction and the best possible client outcome. This is something which cannot be guaranteed in an unbundled offering.
If you however believe that you are best served by an unbundled hearing aid provision model, we are happy to oblige. All you have to do is ask. We will strive to beat any local competitor's hearing aid quote whether bundled or unbundled. Request our low priced bundled hearing aid prices here.
Here are a few reasons why we choose not to provide unbundled hearing aid pricing as our standard hearing aid provision model:
Unbundling might be illegal in Australia. It makes it impossible for you, the client, to know in advance how much the whole hearing aid rehabilitation process will cost you as you have no idea how long you will need services for and what those services might cost in the future. The lower prices are shown to attract customers, but is not the total price a customer needs to pay to actually get a working product. As such this model might actually be in breach of the Australian trade practices act as this was a ploy used in certain industries to make something appear cheaper, when it actually was not. You can see the ACCC's page on component pricing here.
People buying hearing aids using the unbundled hearing aid provision model could tend to be hesitant to have small issues that annoy them addressed when they have to pay for visits, leading to less user satisfaction and eventually possible rejection of the hearing aids. This could lead to what appeared to be a bargain initially, becoming a nightmare.
You cannot be guaranteed that the prices you will be paying for services will remain the same over the life of the hearing aids, making something that appeared cheap initially, potentially become very expensive over time.
Unbundling can become unsustainable over time unless extremely high volume is achieved, meaning that you might be investing your money in a business that might not be around when you next need help. An average hearing centre needs to generate an income of between $60 to $150 per hour, depending on overheads and practitioner experience to remain operational.
You need to have the hearing aids fitted and followed up and you might need one or two more fine tuning appointments in the first few months to get you comfortable with the hearing aids. Even more appointments could be required to get the fitting correct if a thorough protocol, such as the one employed by Value Hearing & Tinnitus Solutions is not used.
After about 4 to 6 months, you generally need another one or two appointments to address issues which present over time, such as the fact that you have passed through the honeymoon period and might need the hearing aids turned up as well as minor maintenance issues which crop up, such as replacement of the microphone covers, which block up with dirt over time. These issues repeat every 6 or so months for the life of the hearing aid.
Various individual differences between people might generate many more types and reasons for appointments not listed above.
So if you bought your hearing aids at an unbundled price, you have to factor in all these unknown variables and expect to pay the price associated with these extra services. The prices for the services are also likely to increase annually with inflation or might even increase by much more once the business owner realises that the original service prices are unsustainable, leaving you out of pocket by much more than you originally bargained for.
With our low cost bundled pricing all of these extra services are factored in and averaged to the least number of appointments, unlike some of our more expensive competitors, who averages to the most number of appointments and also offers less years of included services than we do. We can do this as we use the latest hearing testing techniques and hearing aid fitting protocols, giving us the best chance of getting things right the first time. So we offer you the peace of mind of no cost blow outs over the first three years of the hearing instrument's life, without charging the premium many of our more expensive competitors charge.
If you however prefer the unbundled model then simply ask us for a competitive hearing aid quote and we will strive to beat any of your local competitors*.
* Conditions: The competitive hearing aid supplier must be local to you- .i.e within a 50 km radius from your home. We will offer you the lower hearing aid quote under the same terms and conditions as it would have been supplied by the competitor who's quote we are beating.
Do I get less because I am paying less for my hearing aids? People say you get what you pay for.
No, you are actually getting much more, but at a lower price, which means better VALUE not just better hearing aid prices.
Some of the main differences between us and many of our competitors are:
We give you 66 batteries per hearing aid instead of just the usual 6 batteries per hearing aid. This means you have lower ongoing running expenses on top of the savings you already receive from our hearing aid pricing.
We offer full free after sales support for three years after the date of your initial fitting. Thus any visit relating to hearing aid issues or adjustments are completely free for three years, meaning you will continue getting the best possible performance from you hearing aids even after the honeymoon period has passed. Most other providers offer one year of free services and may even charge you if the visit was brought on by a repair issue after this time.
We offer free telephone and email support for the life of the product.
We use unique individualised hearing aid comparison charts, produced by software developed in-house, that clearly compares the features of hearing aid solutions specifically tailored to your hearing needs. This makes it easy for you to see what the differences between the different hearing aid recommendations are.
We give unique, clearly laid out hearing aid quotes showing the chosen hearing aid's features, as well as stating all the inclusions offered at the price.
We have no issues giving pricing by phone or by email if you have already been quoted on hearing aids. We make it easy to shop around and even encourage it.
We offer after hour appointment times on request.
We provide services and procedures specifically designed for and geared to self-funded clients, rather than the generalised services and procedures offered by regular hearing clinics.
We spend more time with our clients. The average hearing aid assessment from our competitors lasts 60 minutes, often only 30 minutes. We allow 100% more time by allowing 120 minutes. This gives us time to go through your results and recommendations with you in as much details as is required. The latest research shows that the more time is spent with the client during a hearing assessment, the more satisfied they tend to be with their hearing aids.
We use state of the art testing and hearing aid fitting equipment and include many very recent procedures not regularly employed in Australia to ensure you receive the best possible outcome and the right hearing aids for your needs.
When we fit your hearing aids we use environmental sound simulation so that any major fine tuning issues can be ironed out before they occur.
We offer you 60 days in which you can return your hearing aids if dissatisfied for any reason, unlike the 30 days offered by most of our competitors. Saying this, we have one of the lowest return-for-credit rates in the industry as we always do everything in our power to ensure your utmost satisfaction.
How do I know which level of hearing aid technology is most suitable for me?
Hearing aids can only be prescribed after a comprehensive hearing test has been performed by a qualified hearing professional such as an audiologist. Most often a hearing needs assessment forms part of such an assessment. During the needs assessment the audiologist will establish in which situations you have the most difficulty hearing and also which situations you would most like to hear better in. This gives us some clues as to which level of hearing aid technology might best meet those needs.
We however believe, that a person's inherent hearing ability in noise is probably the single most important factor in selecting a specific level of hearing aid technology. The reason for this is that most hearing aids can quite easily improve a person with hearing loss's ability to hear in quiet. Most hearing aids have sufficient sound quality and enough channels to do the job of amplifying all incoming sound to match the hearing loss, when there is no extraneous noise present.
A much more challenging task for a hearing aid is cleaning up the speech signal when there is competing noise present. To complicate matters further, this competing noise is very often speech as well. Top range hearing aids tend to do a much more decent job of reducing background noise than basic hearing aids do. In the past we simply would recommend a top end hearing aid if someone needed to hear speech in the presence of a lot of noise. This would certainly help, but there were likely a reasonably large portion of people who might have had the same benefit in noise from less complex technology.
The reason for this is that hearing loss is generally in the inner ear. The ear can be considered to simply be the microphone of the brain. It is actually the brain that does all the hearing, listening and interpretation. Different people have different natural capabilities regarding speech and noise processing, depending on how their brain handles and interprets sound. Lets compare two individuals, Person A and Person B. Person A has a hearing loss but is capable of processing speech well when there is background noise as long as the sound is made loud enough. Person B is someone with the same hearing loss as Person A but has poorer processing of speech in noise. They both need sounds to be louder in order to hear in noise, so they both need hearing aids. Person A will however require less sound cleaning in noisy situations than person B to hear and understand the same amount of speech. Thus Person A will be able to do as well as Person B in quiet and in noise, but with a much more basic and much less expensive hearing aid.
Even though testing now exists to help identify who might do better with what level of hearing aid technology, not many hearing professionals employ them on a regular basis as they tend to be time consuming. Value Hearing & Tinnitus Solutions' hearing specialists always employ these hearing tests when hearing aids are being considered. We regularly find that people who might have benefited from more basic hearing aids have been recommended very advanced and thus expensive hearing aids elsewhere. Inevitably we trial them on the more basic technology and find that more frequently than not it works perfectly for them. Apart from the savings gained from our lower prices, this can often result in further significant savings as you are not paying for features that you do not need. We also do not have a vested interest in recommending one hearing aid brand or model above another as our markup is the same for all, so we will always recommend what is appropriate for you.
How long does it take to get my new hearing aids?
Unlike many hearing aid providers, we keep large stocks of instant fit hearing aids that allow us to fit a large number of hearing losses instantly. So if you choose, you have a 80% chance of walking out of the office with hearing aids after your first appointment. 20% of hearing losses are too great to be fitted with these kind of hearing aids or your ear canals might not be suitable for instant fit hearing aids. In these cases it usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to get a custom hearing aid made up for you.
Please advise our admin staff if you wish to be fitted on the spot and they will try to accomodate you where possible.
Do you keep your prices low by using lower quality imported hearing aids?
Absolutely not! We source our hearing aids from the same Australian hearing aid wholesalers used by our higher priced competition.
That means you get exactly the same hearing aids at the same quality with the same warranty and the same national support network that you would get by buying elsewhere at a higher price.
We keep our markups low and also pass on our manufacturer's discount to keep the hearing aid pricing to you fair.
Do I need a referral to see you?
No, a doctor's referral is not required to obtain a hearing test or hearing aids from us. Our hearing testing is thorough and we are always on the lookout for any medical issues which might need referral to a doctor as some conditions are better treated medically than through hearing aids.
Can hearing aids be claimed through Private Health Insurance?
Most private health insurers do have some allowance for hearing aids through their Extras or ancillary cover. It is however up to you as the member to find out how much you are covered for and claim that amount back after purchasing hearing aids. We are registered with the major private health insurance companies.
Can Hearing aids be claimed through Tax?
When it comes to taxation matters it is always wise to speak to the ATO directly or to your accountant. Hearing aids do qualify as medical devices and currently if your out of pocket medical expenses for a year exceed $2000 you can obtain a 20% tax rebate on the amount exceeding the $2000 threshold. You can find more information about the ATO's Net medical expenses tax offset at www.ato.gov.au.
Will over-the-ear hearing aids interefere with my glasses?
Modern over the ear hearing aids are designed to be worn with glasses and as such the hearing aid unit sitting behind the ear tends to be quite small and tapered in the area that might be shared by glasses. So in most cases this is a completely non-issue. Only in extreme cases where the ear is completely flat against the head, could the hearing aid interfere with glasses, but the cases are very rare.