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Successfully Integrating Audiology into your Independent Opticians

For the majority of practice owners, the burning question in 2018 should not be should I, but rather how should I deliver audiology within my optical business?

The business case for audiology within optics has never been more compelling. Audiology or hearcare, is set to be the hot topic within optics for the next two years as the different audiology ‘partner clinic’ offerings vie for your spare chair time and access to your patients.

For practices already hosting hearing services from your premises, this the perfect time to review your current set up.  Does your audiology partner proactively drive new optical patients into your practice? 

The evolution of technology and delivery of private hearcare has evolved significantly and existing arrangements if they do not include lead generation and other value-added initiatives may well not be the right option for you.

Key Reasons why this space is so hot right now

With an aging population, the size of the UK hearcare market is growing rapidly. 

“Demand for hearing care is set to grow exponentially” “NHS England predicts the transfer of more audiology services out of busy hospitals and into the community ”  Jakob Stenkvist, the NCHA policy officer. 

The opportunities within this vertical market have not gone unnoticed and the recent entry into hearcare by Specsavers and Boots Opticians has been a game changer. This development represents both an opportunity and a threat for you:

The Opportunity:

Adverts for hearcare are now present in hundreds of prime retail optical practice windows and across multiple advertising media. The incumbent specialist audiology chains have had to respond to this challenge by increasing their own advertising. 

The combined net result is a much greater awareness of non-hospital, independent audiology services and a closer association between optics and audiology by consumers.

The Threat:

If your practice does not proactively offer a hearcare solution, then your patients and their relatives may choose to go to another practice that does. The stakes are high. Lose their hearcare to another practice that does a good job and you risk losing their eyecare  as well.  

Why is your spare chair time in high demand?

Your patient base is perfectly aligned with the independent audiology sector. Successful independent optical practices don’t compete on price, they attract customers who value and are prepared to pay for quality services and products. The same applies to independent audiology. 
You already have a strong trust relationship with your existing patients and this will easily transfer to a partner audiologist who can harness your brand to promote and endorse your new hearcare services. 

Although this is slowly changing, patients within the audiology target market are less likely to use Google or Facebook. Yet alternative traditional marketing mediums such as newspaper adverts can be rather hit or miss, with the risk of significant sunk costs and an uncertain return. 

By working with an independent optometrist, audiologists can carefully and efficiently target patients from the right age groups, predisposed to value and be prepared to pay for the best possible private healthcare solutions.

You can read more about the options for your practice here or call one of our Consultants on 0161 929 8389.
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