When you can sell a product of the same quality at less than half the price than that of a competitor, you may have just struck business gold. Audiotoniq, with hearing aids and related products, is about to do just that.
A hearing aid gets manufactured. Then it gets sold to the audiologist or hearing aid dispenser. You, the consumer, then purchase the hearing aid from the middle-man at a significant markup at a cost of $4,000-$5,000 a pair – $3,000 if you are one of the very lucky few whose insurance covers the purchase, still a significant outlay. Or maybe you decide to wait another year, because the problem isn’t quite that bad or because you are waiting for it to get cheaper.
But if you do wait, two of two things will happen: your hearing will have gotten worse and you will end up paying even more for the same product. Unlike computers or flat-screen TVs, hearing aids have increased in cost every year for the last two decades. “It’s a broken business model,” says Harold Mindlin, Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “It’s a highly underserved market, where the consumer is…disappointed, because their expectation levels are greater than the deliverables.”
By selling online, Audiotoniq is aiming at the DIY consumer with moderate to severe hearing loss – those tech-savvy Android, iPhone, and Blackberry users – who may not have the time or inclination to go through other distribution channels. And by selling online, Audiotoniq will provide significant savings to the consumer. Audiotoniq isn’t the first company to sell hearing aids online, but they will be the first company to sell hearing aid devices that will be calibrated to an individual’s hearing loss.
Unlike other online sources that sell one-size-fits-all models or simply sound amplifiers (which will make your hearing worse), Audiotoniq’s consumers have the option of submitting audiograms which are the hearing loss profiles that allow specialists to accurately calibrate hearing aids to a specific individual’s hearing loss. Further, purchasers will have access to hearing aid specialists on staff so that if there are any issues, they will have their Audiotoniq audiologist just a phone call away.
The tech isn’t too shabby either. With a very successful background in chip design and management, Audiotoniq’s CEO, Russ Apfel, knew that he wanted to provide his customers with an advanced high-end device, which is exactly the product they have created. One of the many limitations of hearing aids of past is that they do not account for changes in the environment. If you are wearing hearing aid, sitting in a movie theater is a very different experience than sitting at your office. Now, the exact details can’t be revealed – suffice it to say, Audiotoniq’s devices will have unique and sophisticated features unavailable in other hearing aid models.
Over forty million Americans suffer from some hearing loss. Of those, somewhere between seven and eight million own a hearing aid. Some 20% of those seven or eight million don’t even use their hearing aids. There is a large market. To service this market, Auditoniq will have several products out in the coming year including a self-administered hearing test through physicians. Their hearing aid device will be introduced June 16 at the Hearing Loss Association of America Convention in Washington D.C.
Mindlin says it best.
We believe that we are introducing a new age of hearing aids and instruments that offer greater control, substantially greater control to the consumer than has ever been offered before at a very cost-effective price while being able to maintain the high quality of product that is available from other companies.
Visit their website at www.audiotoniq.com or give them a call at (512) 961-4890.