At UBHearing, we’re thrilled to report that our first year of business is shaping up to be an unrivaled success.
Aside from great sales figures, the lowest prices in Ontario, and high satisfaction rate, we haven’t had to sacrifice our two-hour long Advanced Hearing Tests, which enable us to program your hearing aids better than you’ve ever experienced them before. What makes UBHearing different from all other hearing aid providers? What's the secret to our success?
In an industry where it’s rare to see a bill of less than $4,000.00, we boast the lowest entry point pricing for government-approved hearing aids from major manufacturers, at $199/aid, as well as the lowest average price, at less than $500/aid. Sound too good to be true? We don’t use our lower-price advertising as a bait-and-switch maneuver to entice clients into our clinic, only to sell them premium hearing aids that far exceed their needs and budget. More than 50% of our clients have purchased hearing aids for less than $500/aid, and over 95% express satisfaction with their investment.
A good portion of our continued success is attributable to our objective, evidence-driven approach to hearing aid selection and fitting. In this article, we’ll share aspects of the unique, UBHearing approach to successful fitting. In particular, we’ll focus on the most common form of hearing loss, which is mild-to-moderate, age-related hearing loss. If you are over fifty years old and suspect you are experiencing gradual hearing loss in both ears, there is a good chance you may have mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
How does mild-to-moderate, age-related hearing loss happen, and what are it’s symptoms and impacts on your life?
Mild-to-moderate hearing loss happens when inner ear hair cells naturally degrade, over the course of our lives, gradually wearing out the highest-frequency hairs, located at the base of the cochlea, and moving towards the lower-frequency hairs over time. Although research is promising in the field of cochlear hair restoration, currently this type of hearing loss can not be restored.
Typically, mild-to-moderate hearing loss doesn’t pose a problem until it robs us of the frequencies where speech is located. At a certain point, you may struggle to hear the sound of soft consonants, like the letters “s”, “f”, and “th”, as well as other high-frequency speech sounds. In ideal conditions of quiet, in close proximity to the desired speaker, those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss may fare relatively well. However, in less than ideal circumstances, such as noisy social settings or trying to hear a distant speaker, the frail, soft consonants are masked by lower frequency noise, rendering speech inaudible.
Those experiencing mild-to-moderate hearing loss will generally have little-to-no low frequency hearing loss, can hear noise well, and know when they are being spoken to, but struggle to understand what is said, when in challenging environments. Often, those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss complain that other people are mumbling due to their inability to hear the particular consonants which offer clarity.
People with the challenge of mild-to-moderate hearing loss may develop varying coping mechanisms, with some avoiding conversation, others dominating it, and still others choosing to isolate themselves from social situations altogether, rather than face the frustration and exhaustion of trying to participate. The TV volume inches ever higher in a futile pursuit of clarity. While mild-to-moderate hearing loss is rarely experienced as urgent, it becomes an ever-encroaching inconvenience. Any hearing solutions for those suffering mild-to-moderate hearing loss need to offer maximum effectiveness for a reasonable cost.
As well as inconvenience, mild-to-moderate hearing loss often presents with tinnitus, which is one of the brain’s possible responses to hearing loss, ringing or buzzing in the very frequencies in which hearing has been lost. The tinnitus often reported by those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss is in the high frequencies, described as sounding like crickets.
For those suffering mild-to-moderate, age-related hearing loss, what qualifies as an effective, good-value solution?
Hearing solutions for those with mild-to-moderate loss must address the hearing challenges being faced, as well being comfortable, from both a physical and auditory perspective. Soft, high frequency clarity must be boosted to audibility. However, low frequencies must not be amplified to the same degree. Those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss usually have a similar perception of loudness as those with normal hearing. This means that we have to be careful that the hearing aids don’t leave the ears feeling too “plugged”, (known as the “occlusion effect”.) If not fitted properly, the resonance of one’s own voice in their head may become a source of annoyance to the mild-to-moderate client, who typically has healthy low frequency hearing.
To avoid feeling plugged up, hearing aids should be sufficiently vented, leaving natural, low-frequency hearing to function as it always has. One way to ensure the hearing aid has been effectively vented is to put it in the ears with the sound turned off and confirm that the client hears their voice sounds relatively natural, and has been minimally affected. When turned on, the hearing aid must be able to adequately amplify higher-frequency sounds and, to ensure there is no pain or discomfort from loud, amplified sounds, compression of sudden loud sounds needs to be implemented.
Another risk when fitting hearing aids for mild-to-moderate clients is the perception of an “echo”, which is actually the time delay between natural sounds (a spoken word) and amplified sound (the word, amplified through the hearing aid). This can be avoided by ensuring not to over-amplify frequencies where both natural sound and amplified sound are audible.
Tinnitus? For the vast majority of tinnitus sufferers, simply amplifying sound in regions of hearing loss reduces their perception of tinnitus while wearing their hearing aids.
The good news is that today’s basic hearing aids are all capable of providing amplification that is neither occluding, echoing, or uncomfortable, and that can help alleviate tinnitus symptoms. For those with mild-to-moderate, age-related hearing loss, basic hearing aids offer the best value. The features of premium technology hearing aids, while they may be appreciated in special cases, tend to not offer meaningful improvement to those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. For some people, the old adage that “You get what you pay for” doesn’t hold water when it comes to buying hearing aids. Marginally less audiological benefit is realized as you spend progressively more money.
While premium hearing aids offer features such as advanced noise reduction, extended high frequency response, automated environmental adaptation, and increased bands, channels, or handles, these features are generally experienced as less meaningful for those with the most common type of auditory challenge, which is mild-to-moderate age-related hearing loss.
Advanced noise reduction philosophies, including Directionality, Rapid-Noise-Reduction, Beam-forming, and others, function by reducing noise in varying ways. However, those features are only impactful when hearing aids are not vented for comfort. Studies report that over 50% of the noise reduction capability of a hearing aid is lost when the hearing aids are vented for comfort . As well, the need for noise reduction and other premium features usually increases proportional to the degree of hearing loss.
Basic hearing aids do not lack any of the required technology to address the most common type of hearing loss - mild-to-moderate, age-related loss. The basic hearing aids of today are the premium hearing aids of yesterday. There may have been a time when basic hearing aids were noticeably lacking, as compared to their premium counterparts. Not so anymore. Today’s basic hearing aids are powerful instruments that continue to surprise clients with their effectiveness, versatility, comfort, and overall utility. Today’s premium features, while exciting, tend to be non-audiological features (those which have little to no bearing on sound quality), such as smart-phone connectivity and rechargeable options.
Some consumers find it difficult to believe that any hearing aid, let alone a basic hearing aid, will meet their needs. Skepticism is unsurprising, given the poor track record of hearing aids to satisfy friends and family. Let’s face it, hearing aids have a mediocre reputation for effectiveness, with many of them ending up collecting dust in a night table drawer.
We’ve had the privilege to perform a great number of adjustments on hearing aids purchased elsewhere. When a person with hearing loss does not wear their hearing aids, there is usually a good reason why. Oftentimes, clients feel embarrassed, thinking that they have failed the process by not persevering or adapting. Obstacles to hearing aid success can often be remedied by thorough testing, correct interpretation of test results, a proper hearing aid adjustment for sound, and client counseling and training. We’ve been able to dissuade people from replacing their current hearing aids, having written them off as ineffective, and instead helped them experience their hearing aids anew, by doing the correct testing, re-establishing appropriate targets, and making the appropriate adjustments. If you’ve given up on your hearing aids, please don’t accept that it’s because you didn’t spend enough money. We’d be happy to help you give them another try.
While some clinics still make ends meet by promoting and selling premium technology, highest-priced hearing aids to all comers, times are changing. Today’s consumers demand greater value. When Uber Hearing identifies clients with hearing loss, basic hearing aids are always considered first. In cases where there are specific needs that would justify the use of more advanced technology, we clearly state the reasons and the trade-offs between technology levels. This bottom-up approach only works if your clinician has a very detailed grasp of all aspects of technology, when they are introduced and where they are needed. Reading manufacturer marketing material is not enough. This approach requires a great deal more effort and expertise, but it is the very reason for our high conversion rates, high satisfaction rates, and lower price points.
UBHearing makes it a priority to keep abreast of emerging technologies, assessing their value in addressing varying types of hearing loss. We offer a diverse range of products, including the latest in rechargeable solutions, smart-phone connectivity, self-adjustability, invisible hearing aids, and more, knowing they are of value to many of our clients. However, our primary focus will always be audiological considerations first, because that’s the reason you come to see us.
The hearing aids we select with you must sound excellent, feel excellent, and provide audibility and comfort in all sound environments. Today’s basic hearing aids can handily meet those objectives for the majority of the clients we serve. Whether you prefer an in-the-ear or behind-the-ear discreet solution, smart-phone connectivity and adjustability, recharge-ability, or a custom hearing aid in a variety of sizes, UBHearing has a hearing aid for you, all for the lowest prices in Canada!
How can UBHearing offer such low prices?
First, we believe those who need two hearing aids should be encouraged to purchase two. While our competitors typically charge two large dispensing fees, one per ear, we charge only one dispensing fee, saving most clients a minimum of $1200 right off the top. As well, we’ve negotiated great wholesale rates from top manufacturers, and we share those savings with our clients.
Another way we can keep prices lower is that we don’t charge you an additional $600 to $1000 for a service plan that you may not ever use. Instead, we train our clients to easily maintain their hearing aids, through minimal daily care. If you do require a visit, we charge only $25.00 for a cleaning or an adjustment, if you’ve purchased your hearing aids at UBHearing. These optional, Pay-As-You-Go services are a far more affordable option than a hefty service plan fee.
We’re also happy to offer longer warranties of up to 4-years duration, and free loss and damage replacement on many hearing aid models, as well as lengthy evaluation period for any hearing aids purchase. We also offer a 100% money back guarantee.
At UBHearing, we’re proud of the way we choose to sell hearing aids. Our refined processes and commitment to testing and proving audiological benefit enable us to deliver premium hearing solutions without the premium price tag. If you have age-related, mild-to-moderate hearing, the journey to better hearing has never been easier and more affordable.
Call us today to book a FREE hearing test to start the journey to better hearing.