An Ear for Profits

Cramer’s been reading Mark Penn’s new book, Microtrends, which highlights all the undercurrents the pollster discovered while working for the Clintons. Turns out there’s a chapter called “Hard of Hearers,” which focuses on the 30 million people in the U.S. with hearing loss. That’s what you call a gigantic addressable market, and Cramer thinks he has the stock to play it.

Hearing loss can be embarrassing enough without bulky, unattractive hearing aids. Enter Sonic Innovations. The company makes a high-end product that offers better sound quality than the competition and is smaller, unobtrusive and good-looking, Cramer said.

And Sonic just took that even further. In July, the company released Velocity, a hearing aid that adjusts to different listening environments, i.e., the car, the phone, concerts, etc. The next quarterly report should reflect the sales of Velocity and Cramer expects huge results.

But Sonic isn’t a slam-dunk, Cramer said. Much larger competitors – Sonic is only a $250 million company – could target Sonic and take back share. And there’s also an outstanding patent lawsuit that goes to trial in January. Biggest of all, though, is that insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids. People have to pay for them themselves.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t huge upside potential for the stock. If Congress passes a law to allow easier access to audiologists for Medicare recipients, or if Sonic gets a contract from Veterans Affairs, a driver of the market’s growth, the stock could pop.

Even if none of this happens, Cramer is still confident Sonic could climb to $13, which is $3.25 above the current price.

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