What does independent hearing clinic mean?

By Maria Brown

What does independent hearing clinic mean?

By Maria Brown

Everyone likes to advertise that they are Independent. I was recently wondering if anyone actually understands what an independent hearing clinic even is.

Being Independent means that you are not aligned with any manufacturer. At present, a very large section of the hearing industry is comprised of manufacturer owned and operated hearing clinics.

While this provides many strategic and economic benefits for them to do so, it also means in virtually all cases, the only hearing aids you will see or have recommended to you at those locations are the hearing aids made by the manufacturer that owns the hearing clinic. This has been labelled in our industry as vertical integration.

Great business model by the way. I have stated in the past I would love to own a hearing aid manufacturing company. Last one I know of sold for well over 2 billion dollars. They are big business. So they sell us the hearing aids and then compete against us in the retail market. Being business focussed and not client focussed, some are even found selling hearing aids to the budget internet providers as well, which is also competing against their own retail clinics. Profits, profits, profits. 


Maria Brown Hearing Clinic was founded in 2004 by Maria Brown and her son Kevin Brown (pictured).

Closeup of a beautiful retired senior woman smiling

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the new vertically integrated hearing clinic model is that because of the business centric focus, most specialists are given sales targets and paid commission. Personally as a specialist who has worked for one of these larger hearing clinic businesses in the past, this presents in my view a conflict of interest. Recommending medical based advice under the umbrella of sales targets and financial compensation is one of the main reasons I started my own hearing clinic to begin with.

This practice is now commonly found across most of the industry and while hearing clinics have every right to run their businesses however they like, I do have to wonder how this practice is improving hearing outcomes for people with hearing loss.


I welcome competition and in 2021, people with hearing loss are lucky because there is currently a lot of choice in our marketplace for hearing care right now.

When it comes to independent vs chains and large franchise clinics, the best advice I can give is to shop around. We understand that a big chain clinic is right for some people and not for others. The same can also be said for independent hearing care providers.

Most people don't realise the ongoing care and rehabilitation program you receive from your hearing care provider is playing a larger and larger role in the hearing outcome. This is extremely important, and valuable.

Hearing aids can sometimes be difficult, everyone's hearing loss is different, not to mention they can sometimes break down.

Will your specialist devote the time and care into your hearing rehabilitation and ongoing care when you need them?

Will you be able to see them so easily in time?

Will they be there for you when you can't hear?

You need to ask these questions of who you want to look after you. Our hearing isolates us and affects our life when we deteriorate. We need someone we can trust to look after us. We all sell hearing aids but the care is what I believe is the difference in all things we want from someone that needs to look after us.

Hearing specialist


Independent vs large chains



No commissions means we give the best advice

Access to hearing solutions from every company

Higher more customised rehabilitation plan

Higher ongoing service and care


Smaller volumes means not always lowest price

Less locations for clients to go to

Some do not provide government services

We will want to see you more often!

Big Chains/Franchises

Big Chains/Franchises


Locations country wide

Often competitive on price

Located in eyewear stores and shopping malls

Vertical integration enables early product releases


Smaller time allocatinons for appointments

You only see one companies product

Most specialists are commission based

Care is often not specialised or unique to client

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