London domes. Pipe trumpets. Dippers. Sound familiar? Perhaps.
How about the carbon microphone, followed by the Vactuphone? There’s a stronger chance you’ve heard of these.
You’ve almost certainly heard of the transistor, and a digital signal processor is no doubt very familiar. And none of them cause you to stay up at night.
But how about the personal sound amplifier, the remote hearing test, and self-fitting hearing technology? Closer to touching a nerve?
All of these are, simply put, industry disruptions. And just like with what came before, there are ways to embrace current and impending disruptions and set yourself up for success.
Disruption Isn’t New
Disruption happens in every industry. The car disrupted the bike and carriage industries. The airplane disrupted the train industry. Smartphones replaced landlines. Can you imagine life without these disruptions?
A great example is the music industry. From the phonograph cylinder to 8-track tapes to smartphones, it’s safe to say that the way we consume music now is very different than the way we did when we were kids. Some of us Audigy folks still remember recording songs off the radio onto a cassette tape!
Want a visual of how the hearing aid landscape is being disrupted and of the opportunities it creates?
Disruption Can Be Anticipated and Planned For
There are many factors that can cause disruption, including:
- Competitive forces, such as product quality or cost pressures
- Consumer demands and who in the market can meet those demands
- Regulations and laws, such as the Affordable Care Act
- Crises, such as a natural disaster or a pandemic
Disruption isn’t necessarily bad, though. The key to embracing disruptive change is being aware of and preparing for it — not fearing it. How do you do that?
- Be informed
- Understand the value you bring to the marketplace
- Focus on controlling what you CAN control
Disruption Can Be a Good Thing
One possible benefit of disruption is expansion of the market, meaning more consumers will want your services. It can drive innovation, bringing new technology and business models to the consumer than were available before.
Disruption in Health Care
One industry in health care has gone through changes similar to those of today’s hearing care space — vision care. Vision care has evolved a great deal from the ‘80s, when the local eye doctor was the only option. The industry saw the rise of drugstore eyeglasses, then online retailers and providers, then surgical options like LASIK, and then, most recently, private-equity investment in corporate eye care.
In an article in Primary Care Optometry News, practitioners were given the opportunity to predict the future of the market, and they said:
- Solo practices will be things of the past
- Established practitioners will focus on primary eye health, not glasses and contacts
How right were these predictions? We’ll circle back to that later. But does that sound familiar? It’s no secret we’re in a rapidly changing environment, with looming disruptors such as:
- Third-party administrators
- Remote hearing tests
- Self-fitting technology
- Ever-changing regulations