Behind-the-ear hearing aids or invisible ‘in-the-canal’ ones? iPhone-compatible or no frills? £500 or £7,000 per pair? Buying hearing aids comes with a whole host of choices to wade through.
One of those choices is whether to buy them on the high street, to get them from the NHS or – if your area runs the ‘Any Qualified Provider’ scheme – getting the NHS to pay for your high street hearing aids.
And it’s not always easy to know what you’re paying for. Many providers aren’t putting prices on their websites, let alone what the ‘package’ you’re getting includes, making it even harder to compare them.
Quotes from the top
We asked the big four hearing aid high street companies – Amplifon, Boots Hearingcare/ David Ormerod, Hidden hearing and Specsavers – to quote for hearing aids at different levels. We found you can pay anywhere from £500 to £7,000 a pair.
Interestingly, it’s not necessarily true that paying more gets you a better hearing aid. We decided to look in detail at what features you’d get for each level of hearing aid and what you’d pay. For example, if you spend a lot of time at home with limited social interaction you might be better off with a basic hearing aid without unnecessary features.
This means that the quality of your hearing aid assessment can make the difference between a good and bad hearing aid experience, rather than the actual hearing aids themselves.
Which? member rating
We surveyed Which? members earlier this year, asking them to rate hearing aid high street providers on products and pricing, staff and service, and arrangements and facilities.
While some thought they’d got an excellent service, others felt they’d been encouraged to buy more expensive hearing aids than they thought they needed. You can see how the retailers performed in our hearing aid guide.
It seems a tricky market to navigate – what’s been your experience of buying hearing aids? Do you feel you made all the right choices?