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Sony OTC Hearing Aids Now Available at HearUSA

"At HearUSA, we are confronting the issue of hearing care accessibility as 56% of US counties lack adequate access to hearing care services."
Sony Hearusa

Sony hearing aids are manufactured by WSAudiology (WSA), one of the largest hearing aid conglomerates in the world. WSA, better known as the parent company of hearing aid brands like Widex, Signia, and Rexton, also owns a number of hearing aid retail brands and at least one large hearing aid insurance benefits provider.

WSA also owns HearUSA, a network of over 350 hearing clinics throughout the United States. HearUSA recently updated its branding, and showed a willingness to expand beyond the bounds of traditional hearing care by updating its website with a new over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid shop, which includes Sony hearing aids.

This makes a lot of sense given the WSA connection, but it did get me wondering... Why would anyone buy Sony hearing aids from HearUSA when they are readily available from major US retailers like Amazon and Best Buy? And, doesn't selling OTCs undermine HearUSA's core business of seeing patients and selling prescription hearing aids?

To get some answers, I connected with James Gilchrist, President of HearUSA to conduct the following interview:

I noticed that HearUSA recently launched an online shop for OTC hearing aids, which is selling two models of Sony hearing aids. Why would a consumer purchase Sony hearing aids from HearUSA as opposed to purchasing directly from Sony, Amazon, Best Buy, etc?

James Gilchrist

James Gilchrist

HearUSA offers expert guidance through our self-guided online hearing test and a hearing care professional (HCP) is available to answer any questions via telephone or an appointment can be scheduled to see an HCP in one of our 360 hearing centers across the US.

Will Sony hearing aids be available at HearUSA clinics? If so, when will a Sony hearing aid be recommended to a customer, and are clinicians trained to provide support and sound tweaks on Sony hearing aids?

At HearUSA, we are confronting the issue of hearing care accessibility as 56% of US counties lack adequate access to hearing care services. We expect this challenge to worsen as an aging US population increases demand for hearing care. Since our ambition is to change lives through Simply Excellent Hearing Care, whether that is through a prescriptive device or an over-the-counter device (OTC), we’ve equipped our HCPs with a portfolio of hearing solutions for all patients, across all levels of hearing loss and budget. Sony OTC hearing aids are available at all HearUSA hearing centers in addition to the Hearing Shop online store — expanding accessibility to a larger client-base than ever before.

Sony OTC hearing aids will be recommended if the HCP determines that OTC devices are the best solution for the client. All HCPs will be trained to support Sony OTC hearing aids, and we also have client care specialists trained to assist our clients on their hearing health journey.

How would HearUSA handle customers who are unsuccessful with OTC hearing aids after trying them?

HearUSA HCPs work closely with all clients to meet their hearing needs and it’s no different for a client who chooses OTC hearing aids. If a client is unsuccessful with OTC, our hearing care professionals will work with them to understand why OTC wasn’t a fit, as well as what their goals and concerns are. We’ll then evaluate their hearing loss and make a clinical-based prescriptive device recommendation to best meet their needs.

Are Sony hearing aids any good?

HearAdvisor recently tested the Sony hearing aids in its sound performance lab, and the results were very positive. The results for the completely-in-canal (CRE-C10) model are published on HearingTracker, and the earbud style (pictured above) performed even better (publication coming soon).

Sony CRE-C10 Self-Fitting OTC

4 stars stars
3 reviews
Busy Café
With device
Quiet Office
With device

The verdict?

If you're shopping for OTC hearing aids, HearingTracker can recommend Sony as a viable option. And, given what I've learned about HearUSA's expert support, I think purchasing Sony hearing aids from their online shop is a very reasonable course of action. If you do hit any bumps in the road with OTC devices, it makes sense to be in the hands of a professional, and I'm sure you won't find that with Amazon or Best Buy.

Smart business strategy for HearUSA?

Many who purchase OTCs will learn that they need something more—sometimes only a prescription device will do. So, from a business perspective, I think HearUSA's approach makes a ton of sense too; they've opened their customer funnel up extra wide at the very top and this should feed their professional network with customers who need more than an OTC solution. I also think it's great that they are training such a large group of professionals on OTC devices, because consumers will be most successful with OTCs if experts are familiar and can provide counseling and support.

Abram Bailey Aud

Founder and President

Dr. Bailey is a leading expert on consumer technology in the audiology industry. He is a staunch advocate for patient-centered hearing care and audiological best practices, and welcomes any technological innovation that improves access to quality hearing outcomes. Dr. Bailey holds an Au.D. from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.