How Unitron FLEX:TRIAL™ Benefits My Patients
A Flexible Product Evaluation Option
12 July 2018
What is Unitron FLEX:TRIAL™
Most hearing aid companies sell the exact same hardware with slightly different software installed on each hearing aid to enable or disable premium level hearing aid features (like advanced noise reduction). These software differences are what ultimately determine a hearing aid’s level of sophistication, or technology level. While most hearing aids come “fixed” or locked onto one specific technology level, Unitron’s innovation with FLEX:TRIAL™ is providing patients with the ease and flexibility to try different levels and pay for only the software features they need to get a satisfactory hearing outcome.
As a hearing care professional, FLEX:TRIAL™ helps me to deliver highly-effective, individualized hearing care that is accessible to each of my patients, regardless of their budget. When a patient checks in to tell me they aren’t receiving the benefit they expected from their hearing aids, we can bump up the technology level and extend the trial until we’ve found the level that’s right for them. My patients appreciate the flexibility, and it makes me feel good to know that they are confident in their informed purchase decision.
What hearing aids are available with FLEX:TRIAL™?
FLEX:TRIAL™ is a core platform feature of newer Unitron hearing aids. Unitron’s latest FLEX™-enabled hearing aids are the Unitron Moxi™ All, a hearing aid that supports wireless hands-free calls to Android and iPhone (and has a rechargeability option), and Moxi™ Fit R, a rechargeable hearing aid that is compatible with the full line of Unitron wireless accessories.
What technology levels are available with FLEX:TRIAL™?
Unitron hearing aids come in a variety of technology levels. For the uninitiated, technology levels are what determine the level of sophistication – and the price – of modern hearing aids. Each hearing aid manufacturer has their own naming scheme for technology levels, with Unitron embracing numbers like 500, 600, 700, and 800 to indicate the levels (higher number indicate higher levels of technology). The one exception is the “Pro” level of technology, which is reserved for Unitron’s top models.
Changing technology level with FLEX:TRIAL™
Once my patients make the decision to come in for an evaluation, it is my responsibility to learn about their individual listening needs and determine which hearing solution is best. Finding the right solution the first time isn’t always possible as I rely on my patients to accurately identify and articulate their hearing needs. FLEX:TRIAL™ provides greater flexibility for both the patient and myself; if the recommendation isn’t appropriate the first time, moving to a higher or lower level of technology is as simple as a few clicks. I don’t have to waste my patient’s time bringing them back for a lengthy hearing aid fitting for each new technology level they wish to try.
Finding the right technology level with FLEX:TRIAL™
I initially fit Unitron FLEX:TRIAL™ hearing aids to the level of technology that is suggested by the listening needs of my patients. When a patient returns to my office after a hearing aid trial, I download their hearing aid data, which provides insights into the patient’s listening environments and hearing needs. The hearing aid use statistics are represented visually, which makes it easy to share the data with my patients and their families. Each patient is able to see which listening environments they were exposed to, and for how long, which helps them to see how they would benefit (or what they would sacrifice) by choosing a different level of technology. If my patient needs more experience, we can reprogram the FLEX™ devices to a different technology level and start a new trial period.
Patients praise Unitron's Flex:trial program
This video was produced by Unitron, but I thought it was worth sharing since it does a nice job of summarizing the benefits of FLEX™ from a patient’s perspective.
Upgrade technology now or later
There are times when a patient has a trial period and needs or prefers a level of technology that is above their budget. With the FLEX:UPGRADE™, they are not locked into a lower level of technology forever; the hearing aid technology level may be upgraded at any time (typically within the first 18 months of purchasing the devices). This gives patients more control over their hearing outcome, and greater flexibility to spend their money if and when they are comfortable doing so.
I specifically remember a patient who was on a fixed income and could only afford a basic technology level even though her trial data log showed she needed something more advanced. Two years later, her daughter accompanied her at a check-up and shared concerns about her mother’s hearing abilities during Sunday family dinner. We discussed the upgrade options and showed the data log to make an evidence-based decision. For Christmas, her daughter paid for the upgrade. I called a week later and the whole family was elated because she was hearing so much better in many listening situations.
Another upgrade option is a temporary upgrade. If a patient is curious as to whether a higher level of technology will benefit them, we can temporarily set the aids to that higher level and save the programming. This is very beneficial to patients because they can try out this higher level for one to six weeks before committing to the upgrade.
No cost trials with FLEX™
When a patient makes an appointment to have their hearing tested, they may not (yet) understand the extent of their communication difficulties or how those difficulties impact those around them. Since losing one’s hearing is most often a gradual process, people often aren’t aware of just how much hearing they’ve lost. FLEX™ technology allows my patients to try out hearing aids for free – in their own homes and daily lives – to see the difference the technology makes. This gives them the experience they need to determine if hearing aids are right for them.