The best providers of private hearing aids are independent companies rather than large High Street chains.
This is the finding from a survey carried out by consumer organisation Which?
It asked more than 3,100 hearing aid customers to rate private providers on seven categories: staff, testing, product range, hearing aid appearance, hearing aid suitability, overall price, value for money.
Local independent retailers came out top, with a customer satisfaction score of 87%.
Hearbase managing director Mark Scutchings said: “Success with a hearing aid is all about ongoing support and aftercare so the result of the Which? survey comes as no surprise to me.
“If you want to be successful with a hearing aid you need to think about building a long-term relationship with your audiologist rather than getting the very lowest price at the expense of service.”
Of the five large High Street chains rated, the top one scored 79%, while the bottom one scored as low as 62%.
Customers said independent retailers were excellent for transparency of price and good on overall price and value.
Independent retailers are also best for overall satisfaction, personal service and aftercare.
Which also surveyed 3,183 people who had recently received hearing aids from the NHS or from private providers.
The scores showed people were generally satisfied with their hearing aids, whether NHS or private, with an overall score of 84%.
Independent providers came out on top with a satisfaction score of 88% compared to 84% satisfaction for NHS patients.
Other findings revealed:
Range of hearing aids offered
- Up to 84% of private customers rated the range above average compared to 23% of NHS patients.
Continuity of staff – seeing the same audiologist each time
- 48% of NHS customers rated this above average compared with 88% of private customers.
- 24% of NHS patients waited more than a month between hearing tests and getting hearing aids compared to 7% of private customers.
The findings also showed that 38% of private customers got their hearing aids within a week.
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