Independent hearing care providers have again come out top in a report by the consumer magazine Which?, published at the end of 2016. The findings follow a survey of 1,746 members of Which?, 568 of whom had bought hearing aids on the high street in the past five years, and show that those who used an independent provider (rather than one of the national chains) were more satisfied and more likely to recommend their audiologist to a friend.
The findings mirror the results of a similar survey conducted by Which? in 2014, when once again the independent sector was more highly rated than the NHS.
Independents Score 20/20
In the 2016 survey, independent hearing aid providers gained a score of 5 out of 5 in all categories, gaining a maximum score of 20 out of 20. Categories scored were:
1. Appointments/waiting time
The table below lists the various suppliers reviewed and their overall score out of 20 and appears courtesy of the BSHAA People magazine.
Price of hearing aids
The Which? report found that the average price paid for a pair of hearing aids was £3,000, but does point out that buying a hearing aid is not just a one-off transaction – regular aftercare and check-ups means that the relationship with a hearing aid provider can last for years.
After-Care and Service
“The difference between a good and a bad hearing aid is not usually the device itself, since most hearing aids come from just a handful of manufacturers. It’s more to do with the professional fit and service given by the provider. It can take time to fit and adjust a hearing aid correctly. Without a patient and attentive fitting service, you could get frustrated and give up on your aid, consigning it to the back of a drawer forever,”says Which? on its website version of the report.
Read the full Which? Hearing Aid Survey
You can read the full Which? Hearing Aid Survey on their website. If you are a member of Which? you can log in and read the whole article. Non-members need to sign up for a £1 trial to read the whole survey although there is some information and a video available to non-members.