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A new survey by independent consumer body Which? has revealed a list of the best and worst hearing aid providers for 2018, with local independent retailers achieving the highest customer score.

The survey asked over 3,000 Which? members to rate the NHS and private hearing aid providers on twenty-one aspects of service, including price, value for money, range, suitability of hearing aids, customer service, appearance and staff skill.

The questions asked customers about their experience with their hearing aids over the product’s lifetime, their satisfaction with their hearing aid provider and if they would recommend it to a friend.

The results were used to calculate how satisfied customers were with the following hearing aid providers: Boots Hearing Care, Amplifon, Specsavers Hearcare, Scrivens Hearing, Hidden Hearing and local independent retailers.

Topping customer satisfaction charts

Almost nine in 10 (87 percent) were satisfied with local independent retailer, with Boots Hearing Care coming second at 79 percent.

Lowest ranked were Scrivens Hearing with 62 percent, scoring poorly on product range, hearing aid appearance and hearing aid suitability.

Furthermore, Amplifon, Specsavers Hearcare and Hidden Hearing all achieved similar overall customer satisfaction scores of low 70s, with all three companies scoring highly for their testing service.

NHS vs private market

Interestingly, Which? also revealed that despite common assumptions, private hearing aid providers and the NHS offer the same brands, although acknowledged that the NHS’ models would be the newest on the market.

“While it’s possible that the NHS won’t offer the very latest models, the technology will be up to date and the hearing aids just as good as the latest models available privately,” Which? stated.

From those surveyed, customers were provided with Phonak, Oticon or Siemens/Signia hearing aids, regardless of whether they went through the NHS or a private supplier.

Additionally, the research found that NHS and private hearing aid providers scored very similarly in the ‘professionalism and knowledge of staff’ and ‘overall customer service’ categories.

However, in terms of waiting times and follow-up service, private scores in the high 90s far exceeded that the NHS, which scored close to 20 percent less in both areas.

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