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Boots Hearingcare vs Specsavers Hearing - Which one is better?

David - Audiologist for Hearing Aid UK
Written By:
David

Audiology Expert at Hearing Aid UK

Updated: 14th June 2024
Boots Hearingcare vs Specsavers Hearing - What are the differences?

Boots Hearingcare vs Specsavers Hearing Aids

What are the differences between hearing aid retailers Boots Hearingcare and Specsavers Hearing?

 

Researching hearing aid providers in the UK

When embarking on the journey to find a hearing aid provider in the United Kingdom, thorough research is essential. Start by exploring reputable sources such as professional associations and customer reviews to identify providers with a solid track record.

Consider factors such as the provider's expertise, certifications, and years of experience. Look for those offering a diverse range of hearing aid brands and models to ensure a tailored solution. Investigate their customer service, including aftercare support and warranty options.

Additionally, check for locations near you and inquire about pricing and insurance coverage.  By conducting diligent research, you can make an informed decision and find a trusted hearing aid provider in the UK.  In this article, we look at two hearing aid retailers in the UK to give clarity and comparison.

 

Who is better?

When researching hearing aids, it can feel at times, rather like a minefield of questions, comparisons and misconceptions.  You might be wondering how much hearing aids cost and whether you will be able to find an audiologist near you that can cater to your hearing loss needs.

Perhaps you’re trying to find out who the main hearing aid providers are?  How do they compare to each other?

 

What are the disadvantages and advantages of both Boots hearing aids and Specsavers hearing aids?

Here we talk about the two main hearing aid chains that you probably have already heard of, as they are two of the biggest names on the highstreet.  We thought it might be beneficial, from a consumer point of view, to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Boots Hearingcare and Specsavers Hearing.  

The main thing is you have acknowledged your hearing loss and the need to hear better again – and that is the biggest hurdle to overcome.   We hope that this article might be of value to you, as quite a few of our customers in the past have asked us how Boots Hearingcare compares to that of Specsavers and have found this information useful.

 

Boots vs Specsavers hearing aids

Boots vs Specsavers Hearing Aids

Who is Boots Hearingcare?

 

Boots hearing aids

If we asked people on the high street who first comes to mind when they think about buying hearing aids, the majority of them would say Boots.  They are a popular choice and never too far away from anyone’s mind when they think of health, eye care, and hearing care.  Who can blame them – with over 400 stores, large marketing budgets, and a huge presence in the audiology market it's hard not to.

But who owns Boots Hearingcare?  Boots hearing aids are supplied by the big franchise David Ormerod Hearing Centres – which are owned by the Sonova Group, who is the company that brought Phonak and Unitron to the audiology industry.  In 2013, Boots Hearingcare bought a 49% minority stake in David Ormerod Hearing. 

Why is this important?  Well, because of said minority stake the service you may get when visiting one of the Boots Hearingcare stores could be a biased one. The reason is that due to this affiliation, there is a high probability that you will leave with a hearing aid from either Phonak or Unitron. 

These hearing aid manufacturers provide great hearing solutions, but it is important to remember that they are two of many big brands in the industry offering outstanding technical innovation, style, and design.  We believe this limits the choice for the consumer and their hearing wants and needs.

 

What are the advantages of Boots Hearingcare?

  • They are the second-highest-rated audiologists on the high street, after the independents, by consumers.
  • Boots staff are considered to be consistently professional, knowledgeable, and caring.  As a company, they also relay the correct information to their consumers and provide a good follow-up service in regards to check-ups and future appointments.
  • Their prices are standard for what you get for your money.
  • Boots Hearingcare has a strong high street presence with over 400 stores nationwide.  This means there is always a store near you, therefore very accessible and convenient.

 

What are the disadvantages of Boots Hearingcare?

  • They don’t offer a home visiting service, which for some people is a lifeline and the only way in which they can receive their hearing healthcare.
  • They are the second-worst for pressure selling.  When consumers were asked, they felt a sense of pressure to make a hearing aid purchase in a Boots Hearingcare store.  However, they are not on their own – a lot of large chains have strong affiliations with top manufacturers, large expenses, and therefore high sales targets.  Ultimately, this leads to pressure-driven sales.
  • Sometimes Boots Hearingcare advertises promotions on various hearing aids.  As hearing aid manufacturers historically tend to update their models around every three years – Boots is probably trying to sell through old stock ready for new launches and more advanced technology when they reduce their prices.  Always check that the model you are being shown is not due to be superseded and replaced by a device that will outperform it.

 

Other useful Boots Hearingcare articles:

 

Specsavers vs Boots hearing aids

Specsavers Versus Boots Hearingcare

Who is Specsavers Hearing?

 

Specsavers hearing aids

Specsavers Hearing is considered to be the largest retailer on the UK high street.  With around 600 locations either stand-alone or within their opticians, they indeed have an impressive presence on the high street.  

Specsavers supply hearing aids from two manufacturers, these tend to change every few years but at the time of writing are Signia and Phonak. The majority of the aids they dispense however are their own brand "Advance" range.

These advanced hearing aids are also made by Signia and Phonak but are based on the previous generation of hearing aids rather than newer technology. This means that with the Advance you won't get the latest features and improvements available in the branded versions.

Also worth stating is that due to the Advance being a Specsavers-only product, they can only be re-programmed or maintained by a Specsavers dispenser.  So, if you need the hearing aids adjusted in any way by another audiologist, not from this company, then that wouldn't be possible.

Due to the devices being their own products, they can only be re-programmed or maintained by a Specsavers dispenser in store.  So, if you need their hearing aids adjusted in any way by another audiologist, not from this company– the chances of being successful are very slim.

 

What are the advantages of Specsavers Hearing?

  • They offer a home visiting service for your convenience.
  • The services they provide, such as customer service, testing, and general customer experience are considered to be good by consumers.

 

What are the disadvantages of Specsavers Hearing?

  • They are regarded as average by consumers for staff knowledge, professionalism, and experience.
  • Specsavers hearing aids are also labelled as average when considering the look, range, comfort, and suitability for the wearer.
  • As we mentioned earlier, you are very limited in the accessibility of your aftercare.  For instance, if you need your devices adjusted you have to go back to a Specsavers dispenser.

 

Other useful articles when researching hearing aids:

 

What should you really be paying for your hearing aids?

We believe that you should not be paying the odds for your hearing aids.  Yes, they are an important investment, but the price needs to be fair, and transparent and include aftercare, warranty, and other important benefits.   There should be no hidden extras. 

Price is perhaps the biggest misconception surrounding hearing aids and is generally perceived to be nothing other than expensive.  In truth, it really depends on the nature of your hearing loss, your budget, your lifestyle, and whether technology and connectivity are important to you. 

For instance, when we check your hearing, analyse the recordings, and take all your unique factors into consideration you may need hearing aids that don’t require a high specification or a variety of features.  If this is the case, then we will find ones to suit. 

The hearing aids that you end up with may not be premium-rate devices, but the right ones for you.  To hear better again, to feel connected, to thrive.  When the right hearing solution is found – it’s life-changing. 

 

Please note that the above information comes from the published 2022 Which? Report and therefore a reliable source.

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Meet David

Meet David, Audiology Expert at Hearing Aid UK

David graduated as an audiologist in 2003. He worked for many years dispensing hearing aids for the high street chains and later as an independent audiologist before joining the management team at Hearing Aid UK.

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Common FAQs when researching hearing aids and hearing loss

Is this the best model for me?

If you are looking at this page then it is likely that an audiologist has suggested that you purchase this particular hearing aid, so is this the best model for you?

In general, any audiologist will always be recommending to you the model that best suits your needs. Here is a useful check list to make sure that is the case.

  • Audiologist level of knowledge. The audiologist you have seen will hopefully have a wide knowledge of all available hearing aids, however some will only be familiar with a small number of brands and therefore may not really be in a position to know which model is the best for you. It is OK to challenge their recommendation and ask them to justify why this particular brand is the one for you.
  • Do research. Read about the hearing aid that was recommended. Does it seem like it will suit your lifestyle? Does it have more or less features than you need? 
  • Be aware of sales targets. Many high street retailers have specific tie-ins to a particular manufacturer/brand. The hearing aid they have suggested may still be the correct one for you, but do your research so that you know why they might have recommended it.

If in doubt, feel free to give us a call. That's what we're here for.

Do I need one hearing aid or two?

If you have a significant hearing loss in both ears, you should be wearing two hearing aids. Here are the audiological reasons why:

Localisation. The brain decodes information from both ears and compares and contrasts them. By analysing the miniscule time delays as well as the difference in loudness of each sound reaching the ears, the person is able to accurately locate a sound source. Simply put, if you have better hearing on one side than the other, you can't accurately tell what direction sounds are coming from.

Less amplification required. A phenomena known as “binaural summation” means that the hearing aids can be set at a lower and more natural volume setting than than if you wore only one hearing aid.

Head shadow effect. High frequencies, the part of your hearing that gives clarity and meaning to speech sounds, cannot bend around your head. Only low frequencies can. Therefore if someone is talking on your unaided side you are likely to hear that they are speaking, but be unable to tell what they have said.

Noise reduction. The brain has it’s own built in noise reduction which is only really effective when it is receiving information from both ears. If only one ear is aided, even with the best hearing aid in the world, it will be difficult for you to hear in background noise as your brain is trying to retain all of the sounds (including background noise) rather than filtering it out.

Sound quality. We are designed to hear in stereo. Only hearing from one side sounds a lot less natural to us.

What are the benefits of rechargeable hearing aids?

For most people, the main benefit of a rechargeable hearing aid is simple convenience. We are used to plugging in our phones and other devices overnight for them to charge up. 

For anybody with poor dexterity or issues with their fingers, having a rechargeable aid makes a huge difference as normal hearing aid batteries are quite small and some people find them fiddly to change.

One downside is that if you forget to charge your hearing aid, then it is a problem that can't be instantly fixed. For most a 30 minute charge will get you at least two or three hours of hearing, but if you are the type of person who is likely to forget to plug them in regularly then you're probably better off with standard batteries.

Rechargeable aids are also a little bit bigger and are only available in behind the ear models.

Finally, just like with a mobile phone, the amount of charge you get on day one is not going to be the same as you get a few years down the line. Be sure to ask what the policy is with the manufacturer warranty when it comes to replacing the battery.

 

Are behind the ear aids better than in the ear aids?

For most people, the answer is yes. But it's never that simple.

The majority of hearing problems affect the high frequencies a lot more than the low ones. Therefore open fitting hearing aids sound a lot more natural and ones that block your ears up can make your own voice sound like you are talking with your head in a bucket. Therefore in-ear aids tend to be less natural.

However the true answer is we can't tell until we have had a look in your ears to assess the size of your ear canal, and until we have tested your hearing to see which frequencies are being affected.

People with wider ear canals tend to have more flexibility, also there are open fitting modular CIC hearing aids now that do not block your ears.

There is also the age old rule to consider, that a hearing aid will not help you if it's sat in the drawer gathering dust. If the only hearing aid you would be happy wearing is one that people can't see, then that's what you should get.

Most people can adapt to any type of hearing aid, as long as they know what to expect. Have an honest conversation with your audiologist as to what your needs are.

What are channels, and how many do I need?

Generally speaking, six or more. Unless it's none at all.

The number of channels a hearing aid has is often a simplistic way an audiologist will use to explain why one hearing aid is better than another, but channels are complex and it is really not that straightforward.

Hearing aids amplify sounds of different frequencies by different amounts. Most people have lost more high frequencies than low and therefore need more amplification in the high frequencies. The range of sounds you hear are split into frequency bands or channels and the hearing aids are set to provide the right amount of hearing at each frequency level.

Less than six channels and this cannot be done with much accuracy, so six is the magic number. However, a six channel aid is typically very basic with few other features and is suitable only for hearing a single speaker in a quiet room. The number of channels is not what you should be looking at, it's more the rest of the technology that comes with them.

As a final note, different manufacturers have different approaches. One method is not necessarily better than any other. For example some manufacturers have as many as 64 channels in their top aids. Most tend to have between 17 and 20. One manufacturer has no channels at all.

Where can I get the hearing aids covered?

Hearing aids are easily lost, misplaced or damaged and typically are one of the most expensive personal possessions an individual can own. We offer hearing aid warranty cover for £80 per year per aid.  Find out more here

How much does the hearing test cost?

All our audiologists use the very latest technology and provide the full range of tests to accurately measure your hearing for free.  Find out about what we offer all our customers here

Do home visits cost extra?

Hearing Aid UK offers all their customers free home visiting services and home visits for hearing aids - Including hearing tests, fittings, maintenance, check-ups and much more in the comfort of your own home and at your convenience.  Find out more information here

How come you're much cheaper than other places?

Here, at Hearing Aid UK, we are dedicated to offering low hearing aid prices. We achieve this by having no head office and low marketing costs.   Our hearing aid prices are amongst the lowest you will find anywhere in the world.

Other pages you might find useful

Best Hearing Aids 2024
View Best Hearing Aids 2024
Audiology Home Visits
View Audiology Home Visits
Hearing Tests at Home UK
View Hearing Tests at Home UK
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