A lack of transparency in the hearing aid market makes it tricky to know whether you’re getting a good deal. Which? has spoken to the biggest hearing aids retailers and can now reveal typical costs.
Which? contacted the four largest private hearing aid providers – Amplifon, Boots Hearingcare/Damid Ormerod, Hidden Hearing and Specsavers, plus an independent shop – and asked them to quote for basic, mid-range, high-end and iPhone-compatible hearing aids.
We found that you can pay as little as £500 or as much as £7,000 plus for digital hearing aids.
But because the price of hearing aids is bundled up with service and follow-up, with some retailers including items such as batteries and wax traps for free and others not, it’s tricky to compare packages even once you know the cost.
Our table of hearing aid prices includes details of what features you should expect for your money to help you when you’re shopping around.
Best and worst hearing aid providers
The difference between a good and a bad hearing aid outcome is often not the aids themselves – it’s more to do with the fit and service given by the provider.
We surveyed 372 Which? Connect members in March to April 2014, asking them to rate providers on products and pricing, staff and service, and arrangements and facilities.
Different manufacturers will have different names for the same hearing aid features, so you’ll need to ask questions to compare products.
While some members were extremely pleased with the service they’d received, others said they had been encouraged to buy more expensive hearing aids than they felt they needed.
The retailers’ scores range from an impressive 84% to a less-inspiring 62%. Find out where each provider ranked in our guide to the best and worst hearing aid retailers.
Private versus NHS hearing aids
Hearing aids typically last for three to five years, but – whether you buy privately or go through the NHS – you’re entering into a long-term relationship with your provider.
Which? members rated both NHS and private providers. There were significant differences in how customers scored the NHS versus private clinics on most measures, although – you may be surprised to hear – not for the cleanliness of facilities or the professionalism of staff.
To compare satisfaction scores, check out our guide to NHS versus private hearing aid providers.