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Who are the common hearing aid retailers in the UK?

Kimberley Bradshaw - Head of Marketing
Written By:
Kimberley Bradshaw

Head of Customer Content Experience

Paul Harrison Hearing Aid UK Founder & Audiologist
Medically Reviewed By:
Paul Harrison

Audiology Expert & Founder

Updated: 1st August 2023
Who are the common hearing aid retailers?

Hearing Aid Retailers UK

Hearing aid retailers near me

 

There are many ways to purchase hearing aids

The UK offers a range of options for individuals seeking hearing aids. Various reputable hearing aid retailers operate across the country, providing quality products, professional services, and ongoing support to meet the diverse needs of people with hearing loss.

 

Who are the hearing aid retailers in the UK?

If someone asked you to name a hearing aid retailer, I’m sure that at least one or two names would immediately come to mind. Many large companies have the resources to be able to flood the market with a variety of advertising campaigns so their names stick in your mind.

It is important to understand that just because you have heard the name of a hearing aid retailer, it does not necessarily mean they are your best choice for products and services. When purchasing hearing aids, you have the option of two different kinds of retailers, there are in the high street retailers or you could visit a local independent hearing aid dispenser.

 

High street hearing aid retailers

The main thing to look out for if you visit a high-street hearing aid retailer is that many of them have ties to certain manufacturers, usually through ownership. This means that while the products you get could be top of the range, your choice has automatically been limited as they are more likely to recommend hearing aids from that particular manufacturer.

Hearing aid retail chains such as Boots Hearing Care, Hidden Hearing, Regional Hearing Services, Bloom Hearing, for example, are all known to have affiliations with certain manufacturers and will therefore offer you those products without giving you the opportunity to see what else is available.

Specsavers Hearcare produces its own range of hearing aids so there’s a good chance you will only be offered these. The biggest drawback with this is that you can then only deal with Specsavers as these hearing aids cannot be reprogrammed by another company or person.

Another issue that has been identified with high street retailers is that the hearing aid manufacturers they are tied to will often use them to get rid of older hearing aid models. They do this by promoting cut-price deals or 2-for-1 offers but don’t tend to explain that you are not necessarily getting the latest technology available.

If you are presented with one of these deals by a hearing aid high street retailer, make sure you check exactly what model is being offered so you can accurately assess how good the deal really is in regards to the technology.

 

Independent hearing aid retailers

Local independent dispensers often give you the best option when purchasing hearing aids. Independent dispensers are not affiliated with specific manufacturers so they will make their recommendations based on your test results and personal requirements.

This means you will receive exactly what you need for your hearing loss from one of several manufacturers that are available. They are able to keep their prices lower due to fewer outgoings than larger companies which eliminates the need for ‘special offers’.

All hearing aid dispensers must be registered with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) which has a website that is accessible to the public so you can check the name of your local dispenser to ensure complete peace of mind. You will also find many dispensers registered on the BSHAA (British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists) website.

If you do decide to go with a local independent dispenser, you can check these sites to make sure they are fully qualified and registered hearing aid professionals.

 

In conclusion

Individuals in the UK have several options when it comes to purchasing hearing aids. High street retailers, independent hearing aid dispensers, online retailers, and the NHS all offer hearing aid solutions. Consider factors such as service quality, range of products, pricing, and aftercare when selecting a hearing aid retailer.

Seeking professional advice from qualified hearing care professionals can further assist in finding the right hearing aids to address individual needs effectively.

 

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This article was written by audiology expert Paul Harrison

Meet Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert & Founder

Managing Director & founder of Hearing Aid UK, with over 20 years of audiology experience and a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists Council (BSHAA) between 2015-2020.

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Common FAQs about 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.

Need advice? Give our hearing aid experts a call for FREE

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