Change comes to hearing aid market due to big box stores, Internet sales and technological advances
Times Free Press, Chattanooga, TN
by Tim Omarzu
December 27th, 2015
Change is the new normal for the U.S. hearing aid industry.
The majority of hearing aids are still sold at brick-and-mortar stores by independent hearing aid dispensers and audiologists, and by large hearing aid chains and franchises.
Hamilton County is home to nine hearing instrument specialists and 19 audiologists with active licenses, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Neighboring counties in Tennessee have 10 audiologists and five hearing instrument specialists.
But big box retailers, Internet sales and technological advances are making inroads in the industry.
Local audiology businesses say they provide personalized service and help those with hearing problems find the right equipment. Although consumers can buy cheaper hearing aids online, hearing aid providers say, they may not be the right type or fitted properly without some expert advice. Hearing tests also can uncover medical conditions that cause hearing loss, they say, from ear wax build-up to serious problems.