What's available in the UK?
When it comes to hearing aids there are two main types of retailer you can go to. There are high street retailers and local independent dispensers. It is important you get the best care when it comes to your hearing and, of course, the best price. Just because you recognise the name of a retailer, it does not necessarily mean they are the best.
Many high street retailers are owned or affiliated with specific manufacturers. Such retailers include Boots Hearing Care, Hidden Hearing and Regional Hearing Services or Bloom Hearing. the Hearing Company, Specsavers Hearcare provide their own brand of hearing aids and these can therefore only be programmed by specsavers you cannot go anywhere else for servicing. Amplifon tend to recommend Resound Hearing aids. Resound used to own 25% of this retailer. This means that when visiting these retailers, their recommendations are most likely going to be based on their loyalty to that particular manufacturer. This obviously limits your options significantly when choosing a hearing aid.
Another thing to be wary of with some high street retailers is their ‘special offers’. You will often see advertisements for ‘2 for 1’ or ‘buy one get one half price’. While this sounds like an excellent offer on the surface, the hearing aid prices are often already much higher than local independent retailers so you really aren’t saving at all. Also, this is often a way for them to get rid of older models, which means although it seems like a great deal, you could be getting out of date technology.
Many people find that the best way to purchase their hearing aids is through a local independent dispenser. As they are much smaller businesses their outgoing costs are often lower so they can pass these savings on to the customer without the need for gimmicks. Also, being independent, they have no ties to specific manufacturers so they are able to offer you the choice of all hearing aid makes and models.
If you do decide to go with an independent dispenser, always make sure that they are a fully qualified and registered hearing aid professional. All hearing aid dispensers must be registered with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) and you can check this on their official website. Many are also members of the BSHAA (British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists) who, again, have a list of registered dispensers on their website.