To understand how hearing aids are priced we must first understand different types of hearing aids. Hearing aid prices vary from:
- One hearing aid brand to another
- Receiver Sizes
- Types of Hearing aids such as BTE, CIC, IIC etc
- Hearing aid Processor/ in other words channels & bands
- Signal Processing Features of the Hearing Aids and other technology
We can also categorize hearing aids as Digital Hearing aids & Analog Hearing Aids. Broadly speaking, digital hearing aids prices in our country start from around Rs. 10,000/- and upper limit of prices reaches Rs. 2.5-2.8 lacs basis all the above given factors.
Analog Hearing Aids are below that price range starting from a basic Rs. 300 (i.e the infamous China Brand) to Rs. 9,000/-.
As far as recommendation is concerned, digital hearing aids are recommended over the analog hearing aids since analog hearing aids are not comfortable to the user whereas digital hearing aids offer a plethora of features to the user to cope with challenges of the day to day life.
You can also ask as to which brand of hearing aid is premium priced and which brand is cheap?
It would be interesting to note that Siemens Hearing aids were some of the first to appear in the Indian sub-continent and since Siemens was a known brand name in the electronics, these were an instant hit. Siemens Hearing aid were also less priced compared to other imported options, a scenario which exists till date to an extent. However Siemens was known to pump hearing aids of analog nature especially to the cash strived govt. institutions at much cheaper rates. The market penetration of Siemens as a hearing aid brand was phenomenal, though it gradually started to decline more after Y2K when several other hearing aid manufacturers entered in the Indian market with newer advanced algorithms for sound processing.
Another hit of the olden times was a product named danavox 215UT. This product still exists in the market and is priced at Rs. 6,500/- as per year 2014 revised pricelist. This product being a non-digital off the shelf product sold like hot cakes amongst the population who were looking for a cheaper solution to their hearing problems. The product is capable of covering up to severe hearing loss and has a trimmer control function as well as a manual volume control with it.
Oticon is another brand in the market which gave out programmable hearing aids starting from Rs. 9,800 onwards. The hearing aids are very basic in nature and work on a linear amplification algorithm. Oticon in India is marketed by Otic hearing solutions pvt ltd which is a privately held organization.
Other known brands which exist in the market include Starkey, Widex, Phonak, Unitron, Resound, Sonic, Intertone etc. Few companies established their brand & reputation in the market as premium companies. Starkey was one of them and Starkey Hearing Aids came with multiple programming options quality and reliability. Phonak followed in their footsteps and introduced similar quality products with a higher price wherein their Naida Series still remains a big hit. Starkey introduced IIC hearing aids for the first time in the market with a wooping Rs. 2.2lac MRP of a single unit. Slowly these hearing aid prices were bought down to 1lac with other competitors such as phonak, widex, oticon etc entering the 100 percent invisible hearing aids section. Resound was one of the first to bring wireless streaming to hearing aids and these hearing aids namely the Alera series were the premium priced hearing aids for them
As of date the price war between hearing aid manufacturers is going berserk. Whereas companies are targeting the booming Indian economy launching more expensive products with newer and more advanced features, they are simultaneously trying to launch more and more products in the cheaper hearing aids segment. The price war is wild and it is aimed at targeting all segments of Indian pocket thereby leaving consumer and dispenser both confused as to which product to be used. Although there is a plethora of options for the users to choose from and dispensers to give, it is leaving more unsatisfied hearing impaired patients every day. Neither is the dispenser trying to concentrate on the solution nor is the consumer with half knowledge and more options making the right choice.
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