In our practice, we have been including installed home loops with the purchase of T coil equipped hearing aids for 10 years. We find that our patients are happier with their devices since they can once again successfully hear and enjoy watching TV. Our return rates are reduced and our patients are more likely to tell their friends about the “amazing” hearing aid technology now available. Of course, we all know that induction loops have been around for 60 years. It’s not new nor is it an expensive feature in a hearing aid. To our patients who spend many hours watching TV though, it’s a miracle.
We have a friend who was so successful during the .com years that he was able to “retire” before age 40. He heard about our looping efforts and thought,
“If the Diles are installing loops at this rate, let’s take their message to the industry at large. As distributors of the loop systems, we’ll make a fortune!”
Let me emphasize, this friend of ours was a C level executive and under his leadership his company went public. He and his company were the darlings of Wall Street, back n the day.
Full of enthusiasm and a solid business plan, off we went to create a company that would sell home loop systems to hearing care professionals. If the hearing care provider would include an installed home loop along with Tcoil equipped hearing aids, their patients (like ours), would get more out of their hearing aids. They would be less likely to return and would spread the good word to their friends, neighbors and physicians…..a win for the cnsumer /a win for the hearing care professional /a win for our new company……right? Failure was not an obvious option.
We presented at national and regional meetings about the benefits to both the practice and the patient (ADA, HLAA, among others). We lectured on how easy it was for us to find installers. We published a small study on our success in our practice, we participated in interviews, and did online Q&As. We helped the supplier of the home loop create simple installation instructions. We partnered with different manufacturers (who offered to include a loop with purchase), we traveled to offices to install loops for demonstration purposes. Our once well-respected “.com” colleague personally crawled under dusty desks in offices while his audiologist partners would provide copious data about the benefits of home loops. He’ll want me to mention that he stayed in some pretty crummy hotels in an effort to save money as we “built our business”.
Considering all of the connections we have as long timers in this profession, the business savvy of our friend as well as the proven acceptance by patients…… just how many hearing care professionals do you think we were able to convince to provide home loops with their hearing aids?
Few to none; certainly not enough to create a sound business. Some hearing care professionals would listen and purchase a handful of loops that never got installed. Fewer still would install the original loops and reorder once. And even fewer would continue to place a small order. None embraced our vision of happier and more successful hearing aid users through home looping.
With all of the combined enthusiasm and effort we just could not convince our colleagues to buy in.
In the next post, I’ll show you our “secret”. In the meantime, I can report that our executive friend has entered the energy industry and is once again running with the big dogs. Just this past week he was on the podium ringing the bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange, having been part of the team to take another company public! And, the best part is…….we are still looping and he is still a very good friend!