creating a new social norm for hearing care
Sunday, 21 November 2010 15:52

Explanation of Cost

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When an individual is weighing up the Proposition of an individual hearing care provider, they must evaluate what the cost is to them and whether this cost is "worth it".

There are two types of cost: the financial cost and the non-financial cost (including the personal commitment involved, reaction of their social group etc.)

This article explains those costs in more detail.

Financial Cost

The way we judge whether the cost is “about right” is complex and usually the result of comparisons, contexts and relativity. For example, we might compare the cost to other things we consider share some semblence.

For example, do I believe this technology to improve my hearing is equivalent to a computer (expensive) or a pair of headphones (not expensive)? Do I see it as a sophisticated medical device (e.g. pacemaker – needs skilled fitting) or as a “white good” (e.g. television – no skill required)? Do I see the skill neccessary for setting up the technology as having a separate value, or do I take it for granted as being simply “part of the process”?

We also compare the cost to other things that appear to be “like for like”. So if the hearing technology has little perceivable difference to another model, then the comparison is straightforward: any difference in cost between providers or models needs to be justified in some other way. Also, if the same (or perceivably equivalent) technology is “free” from one provider, any paid-for technology will always appear expensive by comparison.

Finally, “anchoring” plays a role in the value we place on something. Anchoring is a term used to describe how judgement of value is affected by a reference point such as a previously published price. So if we have heard that hearing technology costs £395, then £2,500 will appear extremely expensive. But if I have heard that hearing technology costs £2,500, then £395 will appear “cheap and nasty”.

Non-Financial Costs

Individuals exist as part of wider society, so the impact of a choice an individual makes about their hearing care provision will interact with the people around them.

For example, if my friend has free hearing aids that they are satisfied with, they might cast doubt on the idea of my paying to achieve a perceptibly similar level of satisfaction. Their reaction may make me feel foolish for having paid for something that I could have had for free, especially as I have a particular image of myself I want to maintain in front of them, e.g. sensible.

If my family think that my hearing aids looks “ugly”, they may deter me from wearing them.

These costs are personal to each individual, but they are weighed up as part of that decision-making process. The benefits of the proposition have to outweigh these costs.


Read 3858 times Last modified on Sunday, 20 January 2013 23:25
Curtis Alcock

Curtis J. Alcock is Founder of Audira » Think Tank for Hearing.

He was involved in design and marketing for 12 years before making the transition into hearing care nearly 12 years ago. He now runs an independent family-run hearing care practice in the United Kingdom and has spoken internationally on shaping the future of hearing care.

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Recorded at the Copenhagen Opera House, Denmark in August 2012 as part of the 5th International Oticon Conference