Best hearing aid providers
Best hearing aid providers for 2019
By Joanna Pearl
Article 1 of 7
We've surveyed more than 3,100 customers to bring you this essential guide to the best and worst hearing aid providers.
Getting the right hearing aids involves making a fair few important choices. Do you buy privately or go NHS? How much should you pay, and what shops offer the best and worst experience?
To find out, we've surveyed thousands of hearing aid users about their experiences - from which places offer the best hearing tests and product choice, to those that offer the best value for money.
You can find out which hearing aid providers scored best in the tables below, and more about what to look for when choosing a hearing aid in our video.
Hearing aid providers rated
We've used the results of our hearing aid user survey to calculate customer satisfaction ratings for hearing aid providers including Boots Hearing Care, Amplifon, Specsavers Hearcare and Hidden Hearing, as well as independent retailers.
We asked hearing aid customers about twenty different areas of care including the appearance, suitability and comfort of products they were offered, hearing aid overall price and value for money, customer service and facilities at the UK's biggest hearing aid retailers.
From this we're able to calculate an overall customer score for each brand, as well as star ratings for each area.
Logged-in Which? members can see how each shop was rated in our survey in the table below. If you're not already a member, join Which?now to get instant access to this as well as our comprehensive guide to hearing aid prices.
|Best and worst hearing aid retailers rated|
|Brand||Staff||Testing||Product range||Hearing aid appearance||Hearing aid suitability||Overall price||Value for money||Customer score|
Scores and ratings are based on an online survey conducted in April 2018 of 3,183 Which? members who had obtained a hearing aid from Amplifon, Boots, Hidden Hearing, local independents, Scrivens and Specsavers within the previous five years. Scrivens and Specsavers customers include both NHS and privately paid-for.
'-' denotes not enough respondents to rate this. 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: staff is based on professionalism and knowledge of staff; testing is based on thoroughness of examination and testing; product range is based on the range of hearing aids offered; hearing aid suitability rates the suitability of the hearing aids for the individual.
Getting a hearing aid: your experiences
While most people use the NHS for their hearing care, our survey also looked in detail at those who have their hearing test and pay privately for hearing care.
Most hearing aids 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.
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. The average amount spent on a pair of hearing aids, according to our survey, was £2,475. Most people buy two hearing aids rather than one.
The lowest average price paid by Which? members for a pair of hearing aids was £1,583, but the store these were purchased at also got the lowest customer satisfaction score, with 62%.
The highest average price paid for a pair of hearing aids was more than double at another retailer: £3,217.74.
Find out what price you should expect to pay for the latest hearing aids including brands such as Oticon, Siemens and Phonak - basic, mid-range and high-end - in our guide to hearing aid prices.
Why does it matter where you buy your hearing aid?
It's crucial to choose a trusted retailer to ensure you increase your chances of getting the best hearing aid for you. The difference between a good and a bad hearing aid is not usually the aid itself, since most hearing aids are made by just a handful of manufacturers. It's more the professional fit and service given by the provider that matter more.
It can take time to fit and adjust a hearing aid correctly so that it's working to maximise your hearing. 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.
Most hearing aid users wear an aid every day (69%), with 13% wearing them three to six times a week.
The hearing aid retailers were rated quite differently on the hearing aids themselves. One store's customers rated it poor for the range of hearing aids offered, their appearance, and comfort and suitability of the hearing aids for the individual. Elsewhere, customers at two other hearing aid retailer chains rated them good or excellent on all of these measures.
If you think you may need a hearing aid, see our guide to buying a hearing aid for what you need to consider.
Will you be put under pressure?
A shocking quarter (23%) of private hearing aid customers felt under some pressure to buy, and one in five (21%) to select a more expensive option from a range of suggested products, but this varied considerably between providers, with the biggest difference between Hidden Hearing and local independents.