Unitron’s new Flex hearing aids will make it easier for first-time customers to immediately discover the benefits of hearing enhancement. The Flex:trial hearing aids can be programmed to replicate a very broad range of sound profiles addressed by multiple models in Unitron’s broad product line.
Unitron will stock audiologists and authorized fitters with Flex:trial devices which can be programmed immediately after patients get their hearing tests, so the customer can go home with fully programmed digital hearing aids immediately after the first office visit.
The usual process takes longer, with the hearing test results dictating the right choice of hearing aids, the audiologist ordering the devices, and then scheduling a second meeting with the patient to try on the new hearing aids.
According to the Unitron announcement, hearing healthcare professionals will be able to program a single hearing Flex:trial instrument to higher or lower levels of technology as many times as needed, for the time period they choose, in order to provide a trial solution to a client. Clients newly diagnosed with hearing loss get immediate access to the product and technology level best suited to their needs and leave the office experiencing the benefits of amplification at their first appointment.
“Flex™ is more than a first for Unitron — it is a truly unique concept within the hearing healthcare industry,” Unitron President Jan Metzdorff said in a news release. “With Flex:trial, hearing healthcare professionals have the opportunity to increase client satisfaction and the adoption of hearing instruments, while strengthening and growing their practice.”
According to an announcement by Unitron parent Sonova Group, the Flex:trial devices can replicate the functionality of Unitron’s behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) products, including the Quantum, Moxi and new Max hearing aid families. Users will be able to purchase those products after using the Flex:trial hearing aids.
Sonova also announced the Unitron Flex:upgrade product, which customers will be able to buy and keep even if their hearing changes. Audiologists will be able to immediately reprogram the Flex:upgrade hearing aids in the clinic every time a hearing test shows a change in the patient’s hearing profile. According to the Sonova announcement, “Unitron is the first within the hearing healthcare industry to offer HHCPs the capability to trial and upgrade levels of technology, even after purchase, in-clinic while the patient is present.”
The Flex hearing aids are apparently the fruits of last year’s merger of Sonova’s Sona brand into Unitron in September 2011. When Sonova unveiled its Sona brand in March 2010, people took note of the company’s promise to introduce “a novel business concept combining a specialized product portfolio with easy fitting and simplified logistic processes, which are unique in the industry.” The Sona brand failed to make a big impact on hearing aid distribution, but now the concept appears to be embedded in Unitron’s overall service offering.
The announcement by Unitron is also significant given its new mission statement, announced by Sonova CEO Lukas Braunschweiler in a presentation to investors and financial analysts at the EUHA Congress last week: to be the hearing aid industry “leader in service and customer experience.”