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28 July 2021

Best hearing-aid providers for 2021

We've surveyed more than 1,500 customers to bring you this essential guide to the best and worst hearing-aid providers
JP
Joanna Pearl
Hearing aid doctor 438495

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 1,572 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 find out more about what to look for when choosing a hearing aid in our video. 

Video: how to buy the best hearing aid

Hearing aid providers rated

We've used the results of our 2020 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 10 key areas of care, including the appearance, suitability and comfort of products they were offered, hearing-aid price (including value for money), aftercare 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.

One high street hearing-aid retailer got the highest customer score of 86%. They received five-star ratings for the thoroughness of their testing and testing environment, staffing, product range and aftercare.

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? to get instant access to this and our guide to hearing-aid prices.

Best and worst hearing aid retailers rated

Brand
Staff
Thorough testing
Product range
Hearing-aid appearance
Hearing-aid suitability
Aftercare
Price (inc cost & value for money)
Customer score
86%
78%
78%
-
77%
74%
-
69%
Table notes: Scores and ratings are based on an online survey conducted in June 2020 of 1,572 adults including 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; thorough 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; price includes cost and value for money.

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 £2,558. Most people buy two hearing aids rather than one.

The lowest average price paid by Which? members for a pair of hearing aids was £1,850 from one retailer. However, customers were more likely to report problems with their hearing aids from this company than from others.

The highest retailer average price paid for a pair of hearing aids was £3,145.

Find out the average prices customers paid at Amplifon, Hidden Hearing, Boots, and Specsavers, and how each store was rated on 10 different measures.

Find out what price you should expect to pay for the latest hearing aids, including brands such as Oticon, Siemens/ Signia, Specsavers Advance 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 careful 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 (78%), with another 11% wearing them two to five times a week.

The hearing-aid retailers were rated quite differently on the aftercare offered. This is an often forgotten but vitally important part of the buying process. Retailers were rated between two stars (poor) and five stars (excellent) for their aftercare.

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?

Nearly one in five (16%) of private hearing aid customers felt under some pressure to buy from that retailer, and one in seven (13%) to select a more expensive option that was recommended, but this varied considerably between providers.

For example, just under a third (29%) of one retailer's customers felt under some pressure to buy from that retailer, whereas a much lower one in 10 (11%) did from another.

 Although we have seen greater reports of pressure selling in some other markets such as stairlifts, it is important that customers don't feel under pressure and can make considered choices for such important products.