April 21, 2008

Comfort Audio Inc., a manufacturer of assistive listening devices (ALDs) headquartered in Europe that recently began operations in the United States made its debut at the American Academy of Audiology’s annual trade show at AudiologyNow! supported by several months of heavy advertising.

Patrik Liljekvist, Comfort Audio’s sales and marketing director for the Americas says he was pleased with attendance and the attention the firm received at this year’s AudiologyNOW! exhibition.

"We and our distributors in the US have worked hard this past year to gain the attention and trust of AAA members and industry professionals.  That work is paying off, as they are learning that our ALDs are sophisticated hearing instruments worthy of their professional interest," Liljekvist says. "Many are taking a look at our ’10 Reasons Why Audiologists Should Sell ALDs,’ and are finding that selling ALDs can add to the bottom line of a practice and to patients’ satisfaction."

The "10 Reasons" piece is appearing as a counterweight to what sources at Comfort Audio call a "controversy" started with a letter sent by a BC-HIS reader to the editor of the Hearing Products Report magazine. According to the source, the letter stated: "ALDs have horrible margins and therefore is a neglected sideline industry."  Comfort Audio’s CEO, Ragnar Åhgren, was one of several to contact HPR and respond to the statement.

Åhgren made several points in the article, published in the March HPR, including the following:

  • It really is not a margin issue; the high cost of a hearing aid (HA) brings in more profits per sale than the often more affordable ALD.  Margins are most often an issue of volume.  Dispensers doing high volumes in HAs or ALDs are able to obtain better margins by buying direct.
  • When measuring returns on square footage or time, ALDs look so much better; they are small and easy to demonstrate and sell.
  • Many practitioners today took one look at ALDs decades ago, and deemed them not worthy. Comfort Audio’s ALDs are sophisticated and versatile high definition, digital hearing instruments that can be used with Hearing Aids (HAs) or, for those not quite ready for HAs, as a temporary solution.
  • Bottom line:  with an industry-dismal "only some 20% of HoH needs are met by audiology professionals," adding ALDs to the product line creates a justified focus on patient’s needs and addressing runaway health care costs. With some 70 million Baby Boomers entering their 60s, offering ALDs has a huge potential to address their needs and dramatically increase overall business for Audiologists.

The entire article is available here online.

Source: Comfort Audio