You can’t compete with me; I want you to win too: The Hearing Journal


It was a beautiful fall morning in Morgantown, WV (if you’ve ever been to Morgantown in the fall, you understand why I’m mentioning this), and I was enjoying the foliage on the way to work at a local college. The night before I had a long and passionate discussion about the competition – the good, the bad and the ugly – in the hearing health industry with my third year AuD students and a representative from a hearing aid company. The evening was filled with a wonderful and respectful exchange of ideas. Hearing from the students so engaged in these important business discussions gave me hope for the profession.

Figure 1:

Sample of competitors in close proximity to each other.

As the evening wore on, it became evident that the majority of students had a negative view of competition in our industry. I was surprised by some of the comments and thoughts they offered — the content of which I am sure came from and was relayed to them by current professionals in the field (eg, clinical supervisors, others). professors, professionals at conferences, etc.). If I had to describe their state of mind in one word, it would be protectionism. It was if they believed that limiting competition in the market was the only way (or perhaps the best way) to be successful. I understood that this was an understandable vision to have as a student with a limited set of experiences in the field.

Feeling a little disheartened as I drove to work the next day, I took note of something I had never noticed before – something I went through on a daily basis that was emblematic of the previous evening’s discussion. On this street and near the campus, I found two pizzerias, one right next to the other (Fig. 1). They are next door neighbors, not just on the same street. One is a popular local place and the other is a national pizza chain (one of the first to increase competition in its industry and offer $ 5 pizzas on demand). Imagine it: two companies selling the same product in a common location.

How can this be? Is it even possible for businesses offering a similar product to coexist nearby, both offering a quality product or service, and both thriving simultaneously? This morning’s observation was helpful in articulating my perspective on the positive impact of competition and the reality that we can all “win” despite the competition we face.

Recently I remembered the scenario of a pizzeria while listening to a video found on a Facebook page (found on titled Audiology Sales Coaching. The post of this particular video spoke to me about the need to share the importance of embracing the competition and hoping for success from others, yes, even our competitors.


Competition in the hearing care industry can take many forms. From competition for patients among audiology professionals and the hearing aid dispenser profession to new market entrants such as the internet sales of hearing aids and over-the-counter products, the profession faces challenges. important new challenges. Moreover, as discussed in the August editorial, the field also faces less tangible competition – competition against the status quo (or patients doing nothing for their hearing loss). So how do we as a field overcome these hurdles and effectively deal with increased competition? While pages and pages of opinions could be written on this topic, an answer does not work to limit competition.

The practices must be open to (and encompass) all competition and must aim to provide products and services competitively according to their individual market. If your competitor can offer products at a lower cost, it is your responsibility to analyze your competitive business model and adjust it accordingly. Some in the field suggest that the way to effectively deal with this type of competition is to focus on the service aspects of your practice, particularly the high standard and quality of instructional training from providers. Although in theory it can be beneficial, I am not sure how effective it is in practice. Either way, it’s important to embrace (and not work to limit) competition in your market by constantly reviewing your business model, financial situation, and service delivery strategies.


Students are the future of the profession, and in my experience with students from across the country, the profession is in good hands. However, it is important for all of us as professors, clinical supervisors, observation sites, etc., to teach them how to foster a culture of respect for others and their opinions, even when you personally have disagreements.

I encourage anyone reading this editorial to spend some time reviewing the posts found on various discipline-specific social media and come to your own conclusion as to whether members of our profession foster a positive culture of respect and diversity of opinions. While this may not be a popular statement, I consider this to be a very serious issue for our field, especially if less than positive opinions (many would consider them negative) are shared with students during their formative years. university.

It is important to guide students using the mindset founded in the title of this editorial as a guide: You cannot compete with me; I want you to win too! We exert a strong influence on these future professionals and can shape their future prospects in both positive and negative ways; therefore, be careful with your approach when discussing potentially sensitive business matters, knowing that these discussions can have lasting effects.


Similar to the previous discussion, my hope for the profession is that every professional organization thrives and effectively advocates for the work we do. I am not naive to think that disagreements and contentious discussions have not happened and will not happen again in the future. On the contrary, discussions of this nature are important and fruitful if conducted in a cordial and civil manner. It is also in this way that I suggest that we, as professionals, discuss with the students subjects related to professional organizations. There is no point in demolishing one professional organization to support another. Again, on the contrary, it harms the profession.

As I sat at my computer thinking about how to summarize my thoughts and finish this editorial, I encountered several unnecessary social media posts that reinforced the need to start this discussion. As a profession, more than ever, we need to examine the state of current discourse (in person and online) and work to foster a positive and respectful exchange of ideas.


Ultimately, one of our goals is to provide high quality hearing health care for the masses. It is important that we all wish each other success, uplift each other and work together to strengthen the future of hearing care, even when there is a disagreement. It is also extremely important to listen to and respect the opinions of others, even if you strongly disagree.

While I cannot claim credit for this quote or identify who said it, I will reiterate it with the hope that others will take a similar point of view: you cannot compete with me; I want you to win too!

Acknowledgments: The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of the author’s employer.

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