The Young Ear-trepreneurs Doing It For Their Grans
A couple of mates, unshaven and hanging out in their hoodies -- Noam Korbl and Akiva Szental aren't what you'd expect from the founders of a hearing aid company.
"It's not very sexy, is it?" Korbl questioned rhetorically.
Korbl, a commerce graduate, and lawyer Szental, have been friends since youth. They got chatting in their twenties about how their grandmas were both being ripped off by hearing aid companies.
Szental's nan had forked out $12,000 for a pair that never really worked.
"There wasn't a lot of information about why they were recommending two top end products to women in their eighties and nineties," Korbl said.
"Aside from there not being any recommended retail price, it was... a bit of a wild west."
So the lads set about creating a fair way for people to get affordable hearing aids through their online business Hearing Choices. It began as a side hustle but soon became more.
"We started getting a little bit inundated, and couldn’t hide the fact that we were working on this on the side," Korbl said.
The pair are half the age of their average customer, but it's a bonus. Szental is a self-confessed 'tech-head' and a lot of their online clients are too.
"The younger set, everyone wants the latest and greatest. The bluetooth, the noise cancelling, the smartphone compatibility," Korbl said.
He sounds like he's talking about a new set of high-tech headphones, but that's the point -- they want to get rid of the stigma surrounding hearing aids.
It takes a person, on average, seven years to realise they have a hearing problem and do something about it. The longer they wait, the greater the chance of cochlear problems in the future.
Today, the guys are full time hearing aid dealers. They have accounts with all of the major manufacturers, and keep prices competitive by being online first and not directly employing an audiologist.
Their prices are inclusive of five face-to-face visits at a local clinic to ensure customers are getting the right treatment and product, because as Korbl notes, "not everyone needs a top end pair of hearing aids".
It might not be sexy, but saving the hearing impaired a bit of cash is indeed a very cool thing to do.