Choosing the right hearing aids is a complex process with so many factors to consider. Should you buy your hearing aids privately or go through the NHS service? How much should you be paying for them and what providers have the best service? What better way to find out than through the Which? report's 2021 statistics?
To obtain these results Which? surveyed over 1,572 of their customers to give consumers a better idea of the best hearing aid providers out there. Digital hearing aid users were asked about their experiences with different retailers with questions about which outlets offer the best hearing tests, the greatest choice of product, and who offers the best value for money.
As with the last three Which Report publications before this one, local independent audiologists come top. The 2021 survey shows that independent retailers like us are rated the highest by hearing aid consumers - coming in at 86%.
Because we are the largest network of such independent audiologists, Which? have given us permission to write this article about their report and they classify us as such independents. However, it should be noted that other independent audiologists who are not part of our network are also considered equally highly.
Our network consists of over 200 independent audiologists. We have over 200 clinic locations as well as offering a full home visit service.
The full results can be found in the tables above. What did Which have to say about our Competitors?
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Amplifon is an Italian company with a large UK presence – more than 200 centres in the UK and some home visit coverage.
Amplifon has always had a strong business relationship with GN Resound and most of the aids sold by them are from this manufacturer. In this survey 54% invested in this brand and out of the remainder, 24% bought Phonak and 8% bought Widex.
It should be noted that since the Which? Report came out, Amplifon has moved to selling their "Amplifon own brand" of hearing aids which are older models of the normal branded aids but re-badged as Amplifon.
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Boots are one of the largest of the national retailers with 430 stores and after local independents, were the highest-rated High street presence.
Boots Hearingcare are part-owned by the same company that makes Phonak aids. Whilst Boots do have lower-priced options (their “essentials” range), what is becoming more apparent, is their affiliation with the hearing aid brand Phonak. 82% of their customers bought Phonak, 6% invested in Widex and a third of their customers felt pressured to buy a particular brand.
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Hidden Hearing is a large UK company with 80 centres and a full home visit service.
Hidden Hearing is owned by a larger company William Demant. William Demant also owns the hearing aids manufacturers Oticon and Bernafon and these are the two brands that Hidden Hearing supply. With 71% of their customers who participated in this survey, buying Oticon hearing aids.
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Specsavers have hearing centres in many of their optics locations and have over 600 locations overall making them the largest UK branch based retailer.
Specsavers like to dispense their own brand range, the “Advance” but also do Widex, Phonak, Resound and Signia, with the larger percentage being Signia (at 43%).
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Scrivens is one of the larger national chains with over 300 outlets, though many of these are manned only once or twice a month.
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Finding the right hearing aid provider and audiologist is the most important part of the hearing aid process. There are a handful of really good manufacturers in the industry so the difference between a good and bad hearing aid is usually down to the service, fit and aftercare from your audiologist than the device itself. Discovering an audiologist you can trust will ultimately result in the right hearing aid for you, your lifestyle and your hearing loss.
This all takes time, dedication and experience to fit, adjust and choose the right digital hearing aid that will give you the best hearing you can achieve. Without the right professional hearing aid provider offering optimum aftercare – you could possibly end up with the wrong device that you won’t wear.
As you can see in the above results table, hearing aid retailers and providers differ in their service and aftercare - with independents coming out top. At Hearing Aid UK, we know how important aftercare is and recognise that it plays an integral role in hearing healthcare. Because of this, we always build a strong and trusting relationship with our patients. We also know that treating all hearing loss the same will not work.
That’s why we spend time diagnosing the level of hearing loss, supporting, adjusting and going through all aspects of hearing aids and hearing healthcare with all our customers. This means that they all benefit from a greater understanding of their own unique hearing loss and their own unique hearing solution.
If you would like any more information about the above article, highstreet retailers or the difference between them and the service we provide - call us free for an informal chat on 0800 567 7621
Read next: Top 5 Hearing Aids of 2020 / 2021
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.