Episode 16 Truth in Advertisement

The Transcript

Dale Johnson: The Conversation Starts Here every Saturday morning on KFOR FM 103.3 1240 AM. This is Dale Johnson and by my side is Dr. Sandra Miller from Complete Hearing here in Lincoln. Check this out, complete-hearing.com. We’ll refer to that site a couple of times because you’ll get a lot of great information by mining down. Taking your time. We’re only here for about 1215 minutes, Dr. Miller, but people can take their time, go on that website, complete-hearing.com. Find out what you’re all about.

Dr. Miller: You know what’s really great about our website is it has every one of our shows that you and I do. And the other thing that’s really great is we just added it’s transcribed now. So if you have a hard time hearing or it’s difficult for you to even just go, Sandra, I can’t hear that through the computer or I’d like to watch that. I don’t have speakers. Everything is now transcribed, so you can see it written out.

Dale Johnson: Very nice. Well, I want to draw on … I introduced a Dr. Miller, Dr. Sandra Miller. I want to draw on that doctor part because you’ve worked hard at it. You have to follow rules in order to retain it. You go back for continuing education. There’s a lot of work and becoming a doctor. There are those in your profession and you have friends, we’re not dissing them. We’re not throwing anybody under the bus. We’re just educating everybody that’s listening here today who are not doctors and yet they are in the business of helping people hear better.

Dale Johnson: So we’ll talk about four hearing aid tactics that people need to be cautious of, that you are aware of as a doctor that may be dispensed to people who are not doctors.
Dr. Miller: Yeah. I think it’s really important when you think about truth and advertising is what I call this and people are always trying to get you into the door. One of the comments my patients always say is, you wouldn’t believe Dr. Miller, how many pieces of mail I get every day now that I’m X age because I’m in that category now where people need your help. And so I get flyers every single day from so-and-so and so-and-so and they have this hearing aid for 599 and they’re going to give me a free this or a free that. And they go, I don’t even know what’s true or what do I believe.

Dr. Miller: How do I know that you’re better than them? And so we talked through that a little bit just for education purposes. I love the fact that you said that because people need to be educated. And the great thing is that we do have more educated consumers now. You can go online and research anything you want, which is a good thing.

Dale Johnson: This came up the other day and it’s good we’re having this conversation. Improve your hearing without an aid. It was a pop up.

Dr. Miller: Really?

Dale Johnson: It was a pop up that just appeared out of nowhere.

Dr. Miller: Yeah.

Dale Johnson: Improve your hearing without any devices at all.

Dr. Miller: I think you could do that maybe through communications strategies. But I’m like if you have some type of hearing loss, it’s good to have some hearing help. So the big ones that we see, I think number one is maybe called bait and switch. And I think your listeners may be familiar with that. You see a hearing aid that says, Oh it’s 599 come take advantage of this. This is going to fit everyone. And you go to the office and that hearing aid that was 599, they tell you, Oh no, well you know what, that’s not appropriate for you. This is more appropriate over here for you.

Dr. Miller: So they got you in with maybe the price and then spate did you and switched you over to this as maybe a more appropriate technology level or this is more appropriate for what you need. Doesn’t mean you can’t still buy 599 hearing aid, but then maybe you go like, hey, this is much better for me. That’s really not for you. So I think bait and switch is kind of a big one and I think people know about that. That’s to be educated about that. The big one we see would be maybe number two would be false expectations. Blocks out 90% of background noise.

Dr. Miller: There is no hearing device that currently on the market that does that with. So when you see these kind of outrageous claims or big promises, you don’t want to believe that or you want to say, please show me the research to back that up.

Dale Johnson: And people are coming in with their hopes so high. They want help. That’s why they’re there.

Dr. Miller: Yeah, that is so true. And I tell my patients all the time, I’m fortunate enough to have really great hearing. Guess what, I don’t get 90% of what I hear at a background noise environment and I hear really well. And so some of the false claims that are currently out there, it’s only going to pick up what you want to hear. Well shoot, give me one of those too because I would love to have that ability to only hear what I want to hear. So when you see these big claims, make sure there’s research behind it or it’s backed up because a lot of the claims that are out there are just as simply false.

Dr. Miller: So not truth in advertising is what I’d call that. The other big one, I think, that’s out there is that when you see we have a high quality hearing aid for you for 299. There’s no office visit for this. You just order this over the mail and we’ll ship it to you. Well, what do you think about that? When you know that the hearing isn’t only going to cost you $300, it’s not going to require you to see a professional. You’re just going to order it through the mail and it’s going to work just as good as all those other hearing aids that are $1,000, $2,000?

Dr. Miller: Do you think that’s real?

Dale Johnson: And we started to show by …

Dr. Miller: We did.

Dale Johnson: … going onto Amazon to find devices.

Dr. Miller: Amazon.com, yes. And so what I tell my patients is, again, we talked about this. I don’t care where you get it, but I need you to make sure you’re educated and you know what the expectations should be. When I make a recommendation to my patient and they may choose something different, I always make sure that they know I’m glad you made a good decision, a good choice for you. These are the expectations, but these are also the limitations of what you’ve chosen so that they know that we’re educate … We’re always about education and we want to find a solution for you regardless of what you have in terms of your needs, your budget, and let’s make sure you have the right expectation about what a device can do.

Dr. Miller: Another big one that we really see out in the market too is we’re having a field test. We need 12 candidates to come in and have this done. So it’s kind of a scarcity mentality. They’re only taking 12 people, I better get on that. It’s a good way. Because that creates urgency or scarcity I think is one of the things you want to think about. But then you see him run it every week in the paper. I think to myself, well that really? Like 12 more people and 12 more people? It’s the same ad every week and I think myself that it’s not so scarcity or so special.

Dr. Miller: Or I think field tested just simply means and there’s nothing wrong with field testing. I’m going to take that to the positive side and tell you what we do is we do an out of office demo. If we’re going to see that you’re having difficulty, we want to put a device on you and have you field trial it. And that just means we’re not going to run a special promotion just to do this. We do this every day in our office. That just means you get the opportunity to take this out and wear it, that everybody deserves that opportunity.

Dale Johnson: In the real world as opposed to a quiet office.

Dr. Miller: I always say that to our patients, this is not real world. We’re in a quiet little office and I’m talking slow and loud. Is that the way your daily world is every day? No. Please take this out and wear it where you are challenged and give us some feedback on what you think. You just really need to do that. It’s important and especially because you’re investing a significant amount of money, you want to make sure that this is a good choice for you.

Dale Johnson: And going back to a point that I made, the fact that they’re coming through your door, they are in need.

Dr. Miller: Exactly.

Dale Johnson: And frustrated maybe?

Dr. Miller: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dale Johnson: Looking for help? Seeking a professional?

Dr. Miller: I never want people to, if you ever feel pressured or you feel like you weren’t educated, you weren’t well taken care of, then …

Dale Johnson: Or conned.

Dr. Miller: Or conned. You need to have a little red flag on the inside that says, hey wait, maybe I need a second opinion. Make sure that you feel comfortable with who you’re working with, number one, but also that you feel like it’s been transparent. I think that’s the most important thing. My other favorite one is when they say, come see us. We have a specially trained expert coming to our office to talk to you about X, Y, Z. And so I think to myself, well, if you’re the provider, aren’t you the specially trained expert? And I would tell you we’ve had in our offices, representatives come and do education.

Dr. Miller: So they’ll come and talk about this is the new product, this is what it’s about, but ultimately I want you to come to me because I’m the expert. And those experts honestly are not any … Most of the people that we have in our office honestly aren’t doctors of audiology. They may be trained in that product, but do they know the medical side of you? No. They’re simply there to honestly be a part of I need to sell you this new product in terms of this is the new technology and this is how it would benefit you. They’re not any more specially trained.

Dr. Miller: I would hope you’d seek the provider that you’re going to to be the expert because that’s where the expertise should really happen.

Dale Johnson: I also think I should know better to not take advantage of the expert is here today only or until 4:00 or only here this weekend. Oh my gosh, I better change my schedule so that I can get in and see this particular expert while he or she is still here. They’re drawing on the emotion …

Dr. Miller: Oh good.

Dale Johnson: … Of urgency. I should know better, but the heart starts beating faster and you’d get a little bit of sweat. I better not miss this chance.

Dr. Miller: Well how come we don’t go like this, well, what are they an expert in?

Dale Johnson: Yeah.

Dr. Miller:
And how are they trained differently than you, Dr. Miller? Because I want to, I’m going to be working with you all ultimately, so shouldn’t you be the expert? You should be the expert who knows how to take care of me, how to test my hearing, know what the best solutions for me are. I think with that expert mentality I think we should go to saying we’re going to have a manufacturer representative here to share the new products with you. They may be an expert in the product, but you don’t want them to be working with that expert in the product.

Dr. Miller: They’re an expert in the features. We are the person who is the expert to know how to apply those features and fit them and getting you the best outcome you possibly can with those features they’re providing to us.

Dale Johnson: When that brand representative leaves from Saturday and Sunday and you go back there Monday, you are the expert and you know what that brand representative said.

Dr. Miller: Exactly. So just know that the expert, what does that mean when they’re an expert? I would just ask yourself that question. What does that mean? Expert in what? Because I think we put a whole lot of value on, Oh and I go, well you want to make sure you’re putting your trust in who is there to provide you the service.

Dale Johnson: You mentioned that people should do a little due diligence and check and things out. Where are places where people can go?

Dr. Miller: Well, this is what most of my patients tell me. Dr. Miller, when I get on the internet, there is so much information. It’s just like information overload. And so of course everything you read on the internet is true …

Dale Johnson: Of course.

Dr. Miller: … Not. So what I encourage my patients to do is like, if you think you’re looking for some type of, I think I need to go get some hearing help, I would just simply Google questions to ask my hearing healthcare provider, questions to ask my audiologist. That’s a good place to start. If you’re just thinking I’m going to just going to Google this. The other thing is talk to your friends. I would tell you your friends are really good resources. One of our biggest patient referral sources is actually from our existing patients. They’re sharing their success with their friends and that’s a good thing.

Dr. Miller: You need to talk to somebody who you can trust for sure. And then research wise when you get on the internet, what happens is, especially with hearing aids, there’s a lot of stuff we found out last time we talked about. There’s a lot of stuff others that’s honestly just garbage and so sometimes it might be my friend wears a Phoank hearing aid. I’m just going to look up Phoank hearing aids. Great. It’ll take you to phone act and you can read and read and read. You need to rely on us to narrow the focus down and help you focus on what are my needs, what do I want, what is best for me.

Dr. Miller: It’s a good place to gather information, but it can also be very overwhelming, number one, and sometimes misinformation, which is not a good thing. Sometimes we tell you stop looking on the internet, but we encourage you because we want and our consumers and patients are coming in more informed, which I think is a good thing. You need to be informed. You don’t want to go into this blindly and also to work with somebody you certainly trust.

Dale Johnson: Dr. Miller, just a couple of minutes left, tell us about Hear Together Give Together.
Dr. Miller: Please remember listeners to go onto our website or our Facebook page. This is our third annual Hear Together Give Together campaign. This is such a great way to bless somebody you know who needs hearing help. We take in the nomination from you, please send us a note, a letter, something explaining of who you want to nominate, where they struggle, what’s happening, how you know them and get them honestly nominated. And when they’re nominated, they come in, they get their hearing tested, and then our whole entire staff reviews those nominations and we vote on a winner.

Dr. Miller: The winner then receives a free pair of premium hearing aids and you get to be a blessing this holiday season right along with us. We want to reach out to the community and say, please nominate because this is such a wonderful gift to give during the holiday season when so many people struggle to hear.

Dale Johnson: And again, how do they get the nomination to you?

Dr. Miller: Nomination can be mailed to us on our website, complete-hearing.com or on our Facebook page.

Dale Johnson: Listen to us every Saturday morning here for The Conversation Starts Here.