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Sennheiser TV Listening Systems Put to the Test

09.18.07 Old Lyme, Conn.September 2007The Set 810 and Set 50 TV, two of the models from Sennheiser's line of TV listening systems, are being put to the test at national Hear USA facilities in an effort to measure whether the marketing strategies audiologists use to promote hearing assistance products is effective. In a study conducted by A.U. Bankaitis of Oaktree Products, Sennheiser systems will be placed in 20 Hear USA facilities to determine whether exposure to working systems influences awareness and sales, and also if the location of the demonstration systemssuch as the reception area or treatment roomhas an effect on consumer interest in these types of products.

In many cases, products such as Sennheiser's Set 810 and Set 50 TV offer consumers a better sound experience than what could be achieved using hearing instruments. Each system amplifies television or music to a comfortable level, while others in the room are not disturbed by higher volume. The sound clarity is also much higher, as these kinds of systems hook up directly to the TV or sound system. As preliminary studies found, some patients may not "buy-into" the idea of these types of systems as they may be too nervous to try a demonstration model in a busy waiting room, or may simply not understand the benefits of this type of system.

"Converting consumers into users of hearing assistance technology (HAT) is essentially a marketing journey that initially involves the generation of product awareness," says A.U. Bankaitis, Ph.D., of Oaktree Products. "There is a need to grasp attention of consumers."

It is up to the audiologists to capture the consumers' interest in hearing assistance technology by handing out brochures and explaining what the product is, and how it works. Once consumers are aware and interested, Bankaitis says, the audiologist should encourage the consumer to move along to the decision-making process, and finally commit the user to the productthus providing the patient with an inexpensive solution and generating supplemental revenue for the audiologist.

Bankaitis and her research team hope to find some answers as to the effectiveness of these marketing tactics used in hearing facilities. To test this, two of the three Hear USA test groups will be split in half and given either the Set 50 TV or Set 810 for demonstration purposes. "By counterbalancing the distribution of two similar products with varying price points, we may be able to gain some insight as to whether or not product pricing may influence the consumer conversion process," says Bankaitis. 10 additional Hear USA facilities act as the control group and will not receive Sennheiser systems.

Hear USA audiologists in all 30 facilities will then be asked to keep track of how many patients ask about HATs each day, and also record the number of HATs sold each month.

The Hear USA study will begin in October. Hear USA was chosen for its use of standardized clinical procedures and staff experience with a standardized level of HAT training.

About Sennheiser Electronic Corporation

Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is the acknowledged world leader in microphone technology, RF-wireless and infrared sound transmission, headphone transducer technology, and most recently, in the development of active noise-cancellation. Sennheiser Electronic Corporation is the U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, with headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn.

For more information, please visit www.sennheiserusa.com

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