Costco, NuEar, Miracle Ear...
Private Label Hearing Aids are Re-Branded
Sound Hearing Care is a private practice and not a franchise offering re-branded hearing aids. This means that we are not beholden to any one hearing aid manufacturer, which gives you the consumer a wider choice of options that will better fit your specific hearing needs. The “private labels” out there make it hard for a patient to do an apple to apples comparison, since the name of the hearing instrument is changed. Some private and/or franchise labels are: Kirkland, Accuquest, Avada, Miracle Ear, NuEar, Beltone, Audibel, etc…
These are by all means reputable hearing aid brands, but what you don’t realize is that the names are proprietary private labels and can only be purchased and repaired by the offices that sell them. They are essentially re-branded aids from the 7 major manufacturers from which all hearing professionals already use. The problem , you become tied to that office or franchise, for the life of the hearing aid and you lose the flexibility to use another office (For example: relocation, you aren’t satisfied, or the office closes). Other professionals cannot access the software to make adjustments and program the hearing aids. The consumer doesn’t know who the original manufacturer or the parent company…we do. Sound Hearing Care only sells the brands from the original manufacturer.
Big Box Stores & Hearing Aids
Yes, they tend to be less expensive, but there are trade offs and typically it is service and the technology. The lines typically sold at big boxes are economy lines and private lables, and can tend to be older technology. The newest technology and higher quality lines of hearing aids just aren’t available and the manufacturers will not work with warehouses, that’s why the cost is less. If you want a higher level of service, better technology and the skills of highly knowledgeable professionals, you should seek out a private practice with brands such as Widex or Oticon, plus have years of programming experience.
What is a franchise/private label hearing aid you may ask??? For example, Oticon owns Avada. The Avada office closes in Greenville and all the customers with Avada aids lose their service provider. Sound Hearing Care sells Oticon hearing aids, but we can not program an Avada aid since the computer software is proprietary to offices that are franchised. Similarly, Miracle-Ear is a re-branded Signia (formally Siemens) hearing aid… the local NuEar offices offer re-branded Starkey hearing aids and Accuquest offices are produced by Oticon and Starkey. Sadly, usually the only difference is cost, as in you can pay thousands more for the same technology.
Do you want to be limited on just one brand they carry? Do you want to be forced to pay their service and repair rates? If you do purchase private labeled hearing aids, that’s what you sign up for.
The biggest factor when considering a purchase through a franchise or private labeled practice is that you will typically pay a lot more for their product. Because the names have been changed, you don’t really know what level of technology it is and could be paying premium level pricing for a basic level hearing aid. You are essentially paying for branding and their marketing. Another point to consider is that the parent companies typically do not give their newest technology to the re-branded label immediately. When GN ReSound or Signia (formally Siemens) develops a new model, Miracle Ear and Beltone normally won’t be able to sell that technology until later down the road.
Check out this link for further information on re-branding and private labels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle-Ear
What about programming, how good are the franchises?
Visit one of Sound Hearing Care’s 3 convenient locations in Simpsonville, Powdersville or Greer/Pelham Rd area to find a more economical route to better hearing. Click below to schedule your hearing evaluation today.