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“The UK audiology market is changing fast.” This was the advice of Patrick Myers from Audiology Business Central during his lecture at 100% Optical (27–29 January).

For optical businesses that are “armed with the right knowledge and advice,” the opportunity to thrive in an ever-changing market exists, he said.

Mr Myers told delegates at the optical event that multiple factors have changed the audiology market.

These, he explained, included “new technology, cost pressures on the delivery of NHS hearing services and the entrance of significant new operators.”

He coupled this with an observation that the multiple sector had invested in “massive television advertising,” which had created an “expectation in the minds of the patient about ‘sensory’ services.” This awareness within the public represents an opportunity for independent practices to capitalise on, he added.

Reflecting on the market position of audiology with optical practices to date, Mr Myers said that 900 independent practices have an audiology offering, as opposed to 3600 with no service at present.

By 2020, Mr Myers predicted a comprehensive swing in the opposite direction, with 80% of practices being in a position to offer audiology services to patients.

Reflecting on the benefits of an on-site audiologist within an optical practice, Mr Myers explained that it could serve as a “defence against the attrition of a practice’s existing patient base.”

He also highlighted how audiology enabled practices to “introduce new patients for both optical and audiology services.”