The Which? Report : Best hearing aid providers for 2019

Which? Magazine typically do a report into the best places to purchase hearing aids from around every two to three years. This is a summary of their latest report of the best hearing aid providers for 2019. To obtain these results they surveyed over 3100 of their customers. Users were asked about their experiences with different retailers with questions about which outlets offer the best hearing tests, greatest choice of product, and who offers the best value for money.

The full results can be found in the tables below.



Local Independent retailers come first again


As with the last two reports before this one, local independent audiologists come top.
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 120 independent audiologists. We have over 200 clinic locations as well as offering a full home visit service.

Which? ratings
• Rated as “Excellent” in almost all categories.
• Rated only as “good” for value for money and price.
• Worth noting that the average price through an independent retailer was £3217.74 which is actually dearer than the most expensive pair we sell. This is because some independent retailers who are not connected to us charge exorbitant prices.

What hearing aids do they sell?
Hearing Aid UK supply hearing aids from every single one of the manufacturers, without bias. We have no ties to any brands.


What Which had to say about our Competitors


Amplifon
• Amplifon is an Italian company with a large UK presence – more than 200 centres in the UK and some home visit coverage.

Which? ratings
• They were considered “good” for appointment times, facilities , staff and service.
• They did less well for products and pricing with poorer scores for range of hearing aids offered, price transparency, clarity of information and the time given to decide which product was wanted.
• Second worst after Hidden Hearing for pressure selling – around a third felt pressure to buy on the day and about the same amount felt pushed to buy the very most expensive products.

What hearing aids do they sell?
Amplifon have always had a strong business relationship with GN Resound and most of the aids sold by them are from this manufacturer, out of the remainder 11% bought Widex and 19% bought Phonak.


Boots
• Boots are one of the largest of the national retailers with 430 stores and after local independents, were the highest rated High street presence.

Which? ratings
• High scores for staff and professionalism and caring. Also for clarity of information, follow up service and appointment booking.
• Average for value for money and price.
• Boots were only a little worse than average for pressure selling with just over a quarter feeling under pressure to buy, but nothing compared to Hidden Hearing.

What hearing aids do they sell?
Boots Hearingcare are part owned by the same company that makes Phonak aids
Whilst Boots do have lower priced options (their “essentials” range), only 8% of hearing aids they sold fell into this category. 92% of the aids they sold were part of their “premium range” and of those premium aids, 86% were, unsurprisingly, Phonak.


Hidden Hearing
• Large UK company, 80 centres and full home visit service.

Which? ratings
• Second to bottom overall, though almost joint with Specsavers, there was only 1% in it.
• Privacy, cleanliness, comfort and professionalism were rated highly.
• They did not do well for price transparency, price or value for money and are the only main retailer not to publish their prices.
• They came worse out of everyone for pressure sales, with 45% of their customers having felt pressured into buying.

What hearing aids do they sell?
Hidden Hearing are 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, 82% of them Oticon.


Specsavers
• Specsavers have hearing centres in many of their optics locations and have over 600 locations overall making them the largest UK branch based retailer.

Which? ratings
• Fourth from the top after Independents, Boots and Amplifon.
• Facilities, customer service, information and testing were all considered “good”
• Only “average” for staff knowledge and professionalism, as well as for their hearing aids – including appearance of them, the range they offer, hearing aid comfort and their suitability for the person wearing them.

What hearing aids do they sell?
Specsavers like to dispense their own brand range, the “Advance” but also do Widex, Phonak, Resound and Signia, with the larger percentage being Signia (55%)


Scrivens
• Scrivens are one of the larger national chains with over 300 outlets, though many of these are manned only once or twice a month.

Which? ratings
• This time around they came bottom in Which? Magazine’s customer survey with an overall customer satisfaction score of just 62%.
• They achieved good scores with regard to their facilities – their branches were rated as quiet, comfortable, private and clean.
• Their waiting times, professionalism, follow up service and overall customer service were “average”
• The range of hearing aids, physical appearance of hearing aids, comfort of hearing aids, and even hearing aid suitability for the client were all deemed to be poor.

What hearing aids do they sell?
Scrivens mainly dispense Bernafon and Starkey hearing aids

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See below for the results of the previous Which reports from 2016 and 2014

Which? Magazine was kind enough to give us permission to publish their report about hearing aid retailers in the UK. In the 2016 report they surveyed over 560 of their own members to find out their experience with buying a hearing aid in the UK.

The retailers were assessed on their level of service, pricing, knowledge of their staff and the quality of their testing facilities. I am pleased to say that local independent retailers such as ourselves came out top in all areas.

Obviously we are keen to show you this report as we are the main route to the independent hearing aid market in the UK and it reflects rather well on us. It should be noted however that we do not have a relationship with Which? magazine and we had no influence on the production of this report.

Everything below this line is credited to Which?

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Hearing aid providers rated for service, facilities and the products they offer. Discover which providers topped our poll of hearing aid wearers.

Getting a hearing aid is not just a one-off transaction – regular aftercare and check-ups means that your relationship with your hearing aid provider can last for years.

To help you find the best provider, we surveyed more than 568 Which? members who bought a hearing aid from high street retailers including Boots Hearing Care, Amplifon, Specsavers Hearcare and Hidden Hearing about their experiences . We asked hearing aid customers about the range of products they were offered, hearing aid prices, customer service and facilities at the UK’s biggest hearing aid retailers. The table below shows how each of the providers covered by our survey compare.

which 2016

Which? did a slightly smaller survey back in 2014 (25% fewer sample size). As with the 2016 report, local independent retailers came top then as well. See the table below.

which report