Unitron introduced their Flex:trial hearing aid in October 2012 and it looks set to make the hearing aid buying process a little less painful.
Everyone knows that hearing aids are expensive and people looking to buy are often put off by the big outlay. There has always been a problem with being able to try before you buy: you feel uneasy about handing over your money when you haven’t tried the aid properly and you aren’t sure if you really want it – and the dispenser can’t give you the hearing aid to try without a payment in case you walk off with it and are never seen again. Stalemate.
Unitron’s Flex:trial fixes this problem: it is essentially time-limited hearing aid. The Flex:trial model allows dispensers to give you a risk-free trial – you don’t have to pay up-front and they aren’t risking giving away a free hearing aid. A dispenser can program the Flex:trial to operate for a fixed length of time – as that time nears its end the aid will beep at you to let you know your trial is nearly over, first it will beep every hour as a gentle warning, progressing up to beeping every minute.
The Flex:trial is a fully-functioning unit. It is exactly the same as the unit you would purchase if you decided to keep it after the trial – the limitation is the time, not features. If you like the trial model then what you buy should be exactly the same.
Dispensers can also configure the aid to operate as any of the models in the Flex:trial line – so you can demo the cheaper offering, then demo the more expensive offering. This is a brilliant way of comparing the features of each model and will go a long way to helping you choose what works for you. I’ve been in numerous situations with dispensers where I’ve been offered several models and when I say, “Well, why is this one £800 more than that one? What do I get for my £800?”, they can’t answer with specifics, they can just say that it works better and I could hear more. Whilst that is probably true it’s not enough information for me to part with £800. But with the Flex:trial you are free to make the comparison yourself.
I really like this idea of a demo unit, in fact, I wrote about it back in 2009! As far as I know the Flex:trial is the first of its sort to hit the market but I’m sure other manufacturers will follow suit at some point because it’s a great idea.
If you try out a Flex:trial then please drop me a line, I’d love to know how you get on with it.