Hearing aid providers
Best hearing aid providers overview
By Joanna Pearl
Article 1 of 6
Where's the best place to buy a hearing aid? We asked real customers to rate the big retailers on everything from product ranges and pricing to staff and service.
Click to watch our 'how to buy the best hearing aid' video and find out what you need to know before you part with any money.
It's important to think carefully about where you buy your hearing aids from as it's not just a one-off transaction - regular aftercare and check-ups means that the relationship can go on for years.
We've surveyed more than 400 Which? members about their hearing aid buying experiences with high street retailers including Boots Hearing Care, Amplifon, Specsavers Hearcare and Hidden Hearing.
Our survey asked hearing aid customers about the range of products on offer, hearing aid prices, customer service and facilities at the UK's biggest hearing aid retailers.
Logged-in Which? members can see how each shop was rated in our survey.
|Best and worst hearing aid retailers|
|Brand||Products /pricing||Staff /service||Arrangements /facilities||Customer score|
Scores and ratings are based on an online survey conducted in March and April 2014 of 407 Which? members who had bought a hearing aid from Amplifon, Boots, David Ormerod, Hidden Hearing, local independents and Specsavers within the previous three years.
Customer score is a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood that the person would recommend the provider they used to a friend.
Star ratings: products and pricing is based on the range of products, transparency of pricing, clarity of information provided and time given to decide on products; staff and service rates the professionalism and knowledge of staff, customer service, and handling of questions and concerns; arrangements and facilities rates the retailer's cleanliness and comfort, level of privacy provided, ease of booking follow-up appointments and time spent waiting to be seen.
Getting a hearing aid: your experiences
While most people use the NHS for their hearing care, our survey looked in detail at those who have their hearing test and pay privately for hearing care.
To find out how the NHS compares, visit our guide to the NHS versus private hearing aid providers.
On average, private hearing aid customers wait just under a week for a hearing test and just over a week for a first fitting. Most are bought from Boots Hearing Care, Specsavers or a local independent retailer - the table above shows which shops are rated best and worst by Which? members.
Most hearing aid users wear an aid all the time when they're awake, but 43% choose to wear them less often than that, either for shorter periods during the day or only on certain occasions - when socialising or watching TV, for example.
How much do hearing aids cost?
Although it's possible to buy hearing aids for as little as £100, most people who buy privately pay significantly more. Go to our hearing aid prices guide to find out how much the big retailers told us they charge for different types of hearing aid.
Why does it matter where I buy my hearing aid from?
If you decide to buy hearing aids privately, it's crucial to choose a trusted retailer to increase your chances of getting the best hearing aid solution for you. The difference between a good and a bad hearing aid solution is not usually the aid itself, since most hearing aids are made by a handful of manufacturers. It's more to do with the professional fit and service given by the provider.
It can take time to fit and adjust a hearing aid correctly. Without a patient and attentive fitting service, you could get frustrated and give up on your aid, consigning it to the back of a drawer forever.