Let’s discuss the term “retail audiology.” Traditionally, audiology has largely been a service-based industry. Sure, you provide hearing aids, but the main draw for patients has always been your high level of care and knowledge. However, a large portion of the audiology field is transitioning to more online accessibility. Additionally, consumers can now purchase the top-ticket products (hearing aids) online and over-the-counter hearing aids are on the horizon. With all of these changes to the field of audiology, how can you embrace this change and remain successful?
The key is to adapt to these changes quickly and continue bringing exceptional quality and value to your patients. Here is how you can do just that:
- Become digitally aware.
Have you sat down in a public place lately and watched people go about their lives? There’s one thing that’s ubiquitous as people walk, drive, talk, shop, eat, and much more: their smartphones. More and more, people are looking for digital solutions. To remain relevant, you need to become digitally aware.
You can do this by using digital communication and updates for your patients, providing telehealth appointments, and offering e-commerce options for purchasing hearing devices.
- Sell “situational” devices.
Audiology research and development have made huge strides in recent years. Several companies now manufacture “situational” devices that are not hearing aids but are designed to help people hear in noisy situations or offer personal hearing experiences. For example, there are headphones and earbuds that correct audio for hearing loss and soundbars that do the same.
As these devices become more widely known and used, they will become increasingly popular. Some experts even predict they will replace hearing aids for people with mild hearing loss and could become everyday devices for many people. To keep up with these trends, you can offer situational devices to your patients.
- Sell OTC hearing aids.
Some audiologists see the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids as the beginning of the end for the field. However, it doesn’t need to be. When OTC hearing aids become available, offer them at your practice and on your website. Make sure your patients know that when they are looking for hearing devices—whether they want traditional hearing aids, OTC hearing aids, or situational devices—they can come to you.
- Earn your patients’ loyalty.
As patients increasingly turn to digital solutions like telehealth, new apps, and advanced devices, they will spend less and less time face-to-face with you in your office. So, you need to find new ways to earn your patients’ loyalty when they aren’t coming to see you. You can do this by making things easy for them.
This includes offering exceptional remote support (online and by phone), making onboarding simple with tools like text and email communication, and providing virtual audiology appointments.
- Widen your services and product offerings.
The services that have traditionally been the “bread and butter” of the audiology field may not cut it in the coming years. Prepare to expand your services to everything within the scope of your practice. This may include cerumen management, balance, tinnitus management, hearing conservation, and hearing correction. You may also consider offering a cognitive assessment.
You will need to expand your product offerings as well. As mentioned above, you can start to offer situational devices, OTC devices, and even smartphone apps.
The coming years will bring a lot of change to the field of audiology, and with that change, a lot of opportunity. To learn more about how you can take advantage of this opportunity to grow your practice, we invite you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus.
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