Is Starkey about to trial a hearing aid rental model? + Photos from London Starkey "Inspiring Tomorrow" event
- Published on 01 February 2023
Would a rental model work for the UK hearing aid market? US company Starkey, which has one of the most solid UK customer bases among manufacturers, thinks that renting hearing aids might prove a useful complement to hearing aid sales.
The firm’s Managing Director for UK and Ireland, Tim Clark, revealed the possibility of a venture into renting this January when Starkey hosted a gathering of faithful and, mostly, prospective new customers in London’s luxurious Pan Pacific Hotel.
Wining and dining some 170+ invited frontline audiology professionals, Starkey set up a big room of cool igloo-style pods to get across its ethos, product, service emphasis, and support plans to guests whose motivation for dreaming big was boosted by a superb opening presentation in the very animated hands of GB track legend, Kriss Akabusi. With more inspiration for how to survive at the top, an afternoon talk was given by mountaineer Doug Jones, whose achievements include climbing the Matterhorn after having overcome a brain tumour and the serious risk of life-changing disabilities after treatment.
Intense motivational address by a multi-talented track star
With Akabusi’s messages - Past is for Reference not for Residence; Dream BIG - ringing in their ears, guests visited pods for intimate exposure to Starkey’s own messages, the manufacturer’s UK MD keen to underline ways the firm can help independent audiologists through an economic downturn that makes managing expectations as important as managing finance.
Among support mechanisms offered by Starkey is a loan scheme, and the floated hearing aid rental idea, “very much a concept phase” but one that could materialise in March in the form of a pilot launch.
Starkey points out that its purpose would be “to make hearing solutions more accessible to people who cannot handle a large initial outlay” and “to modernise the way in which hearing solutions are provided, whilst adapting to consumer trends”. Importantly, it would be designed “to compliment, not cannibalise” the hearing aid market in the UK.
The “Inspiring Tomorrow” event was introduced by Clark with his declaration on shaping the future: “It’s a new day!”
“We believe business is personal,” he told a packed venue, underlining that Starkey has no big chain of retail outlets, adding: “Most of our eggs are in this small, independent basket.”