EyeCare Professional�s Paul DiGiovanni, LDO, speaking with
Business Development Manager, Ear Technology Corp.
Please provide a brief history of the
company and explain how this new product, TuneAmp� was
For over 15 years Ear Technology Corporation has been
manufacturing and distributing innovative products globally,
primarily to audiology practices. Dr. Daniel R. Schumaier,
company president and holder of over 100 patents worldwide,
saw the opportunity with advances in micro-electronic
technology to develop a high quality digital sound amplifier
for people not ready for a hearing aid. He also realized
there was a large unmet need for Baby Boomers who want a
simple to use and affordable technology to help them enjoy
listening in various situations such as: conversations in
restaurants, speakers at large meetings, introductions to
new acquaintances, or something as everyday as birds
chirping in the morning. So in late 2011 we began the
manufacture of TuneAmp, which is a personal sound
amplification product as defined by the FDA, or as we refer
to them, PSAPs.
How is it a good fit for ECPs to carry
TuneAmp in their opticals?
Many ECPs tell me they are looking for additional revenue
streams as their business continues to get more competitive.
Baby boomers have been going to ECPs when they begin to get
tired of stretching their arms while reading the newspaper
because they value the fashion and function of custom fit
eyewear. So we believe it is an ideal fit for ECPs to carry
TuneAmp to deliver the best quality, convenience and value
for this new product category to their patients. Since they
are approved to be sold over-the-counter there should be no
issues with a practice offering TuneAmp for sale. They are
so simple to sell that there is no need for additional
staffing. PSAPs have been referred to as reading glasses for
Do you need a license to sell these
TuneAmp is a PSAP, not a hearing aid, and
is not intended for individuals with impaired hearing.
Because PSAPs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or
mitigate disease and do not alter the structure or function
of the body, they are not devices as defined by the FDA.
There is no need to get certified or licensed to sell
How is TuneAmp different from other PSAPs?
TuneAmp is different because it�s �tuneable�
to what you like! Then it stays on that setting as long as
you want. It remembers! No other premium PSAP does that.
TuneAmp is available in a variety of colors and is packaged
in a slim profile case with a thin tube. Not only does the
small size give the user a comfortable fit, the instrument
is barely visible. It has incredible technology packed into
this tiny little device with the most advanced features.
Automatic feedback control minimizes whistling while
allowing the ear canal to remain open. Fast acting
compression softens sounds that are loud so they are not
uncomfortable. A directional microphone gives the user even
more clarity in difficult listening situations. These are
technologies used in high end hearing aids yet TuneAmp is
available at a fraction of the cost.
Does TuneAmp come with a manufacturer�s
warranty and what if a customer is not satisfied with its
TuneAmp can be returned within 30 days of
purchase. TuneAmp is covered by a limited warranty against
defects in material and workmanship for 6 months from the
date of purchase. A six month warranty extension is provided
at no charge with the user�s validated purchase and
regular use of a Dry & Store� appliance.
TuneAmp is not a
hearing aid; rather, a personal sound amplification
What do you see as the trend in regards
to optical practices offering hearing services?
It�s estimated that that as many as 40%
of Baby Boomers, the rock and roll generation, could improve
their listening by having some kind of sound amplification
device. That represents 26 million Americans that are age 50
and older, and that figure is expected to double by 2030.
Based on recent articles, it�s a growing trend for ECP
practices to have audiologists offering a full spectrum of
hearing healthcare services which includes providing
complete audiological evaluations. Some practices have found
it to be a successful fit. But it doesn�t fit everyone�s
Meanwhile, the PSAP classification just
came about in the last couple of years and sales of PSAPs
have been growing rapidly. The recent September 11th article
in the Wall Street Journal states, �a wave of new devices
that are smaller, hipper, and sold over-the-counter are
trying to win over consumers.� This is where the ECP can
serve this growing market.
What additional on-going revenue can ECPs
receive once they start selling your products?
A TuneAmp user will have on-going
purchases every few months for batteries and tubes. If the
user bought a Dry & Store appliance, they will need
desiccants. You could expect there will be a resulting
increase in foot traffic for the ECP practice as users are
usually accompanied by friends or family when they come by
to pick up their supplies and get any of their questions
answered. Additional traffic and referrals will mean more
people coming into the practice who will get to see their
products and services, which should lead to increased
patient exams and optical sales.
How much training is involved to be able
to sell TuneAmp?
It is really very simple to get started
selling TuneAmp. We have a startup package that includes
TuneAmps with the different colors, marketing materials for
the sitting area and an accessories kit of batteries,
cleaners, and tubes. There is an easy to use, four step
quick start guide to show how to use it right out of the
box. We have found that users like to have someone go over
the instructions and help them set it up. We usually spend a
couple hours on orientation with the ECP staff, showing them
how it works. Of course as a refresher they can go to
www.TuneAmp.com if they have questions or want to see what
is needed. Otherwise they or their patients can always call
our customer service 888.815.3240.