Six hearing aid buying tips you need to know – Which one? News


Figuring out what you should pay for hearing aids can be tricky — and it’s easy to miss pricey hidden extras along the way.

To begin with, this information is not always easy to find, because some companies still do not publish their prices in advance.

To make it easier for you, we’ve looked at the price of the latest hearing aids from the biggest manufacturers – including Oticon, Phonak, Signia and Starkey – at major retailers such as Amplifon, Boot Hearingcare and Specsavers.

You can compare costs in our comprehensive hearing aid price comparison guide, and before you commit to paying thousands of dollars for your hearing aids, use our expert buying tips below to avoid the pitfalls current purchases.

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1. Same hearing aids, different price

We have found that there is often a large price difference for comparable hearing aids between retailers.

For example, you could pay between £2,700 and £5,300 for the most complex pair of aids with disposable batteries.

It’s worth shopping around to get the best price for what you need. The type of hearing aid you get and the level of functionality you need will be determined by factors such as your hearing loss and your lifestyle.

To get our prices, we’ve broken down all the major hearing aid brands into categories, so you know if the price you’re being offered is reasonable for the type you need.

To learn more about the different types of hearing aids, see our comprehensive guide to hearing aid types.

The Best and Worst Hearing Aid Companies – we reveal the best to buy

2. Know what’s included in the price

Hearing aids are usually sold as part of a bundled price or package, and you’ll have to choose what you get for your money.

You can buy the best hearing aids, but you will only benefit if they are properly fitted, programmed and continuously adjusted so that they are right for you.

Some differences between retailers and what they include in the price are:

  • duration of the trial period
  • the duration of the warranty and what it includes
  • if you will get free ongoing maintenance items such as batteries, wax traps, receivers (the tube) and cleaning kits, as well as services such as wax removal.

You will also need to check what follow-up appointments you will be offered, including whether home visits are available if you need them and whether your appointments will be with the same audiologist.

For example, you should have a follow-up appointment between four and 12 weeks after you receive your hearing aids, so that any teething issues can be resolved.

3. Beware of hidden extras

When comparing hearing aid prices, you need to consider ongoing costs (parts such as batteries and wax guards) as well as upfront costs, as they can differ significantly.

For example, Specsavers includes disposable batteries for up to four years, Amplifon includes them on some models and Scrivens has an Essential Care plan where you pay £2.50 a month to include batteries and other maintenance items.

Potential additional costs to consider include:

  • Disposable batteries – £3/month (average cost) The duration of these will depend on factors such as your level of hearing loss and the technology you use (for example, streaming music through your hearing aids).
  • Wax Traps – £4.50/mo These cost around £5 per pack and are also needed for refillable aids. How often you need to change them depends on the amount of earwax your ears produce and the position of the hearing aid in the ear. Most patients change them between a week and a fortnight, but it really varies, with some people going one pack a week and manufacturers recommending changing them at least every couple months or so.
  • Domes – £3.50/month The domes or soft tips that are in your ear (if you have this type of hearing aid rather than earmolds) may also need to be replaced.
  • Desiccant capsules £1/month Some of the rechargeable units have a silica gel pellet that dries out the hearing aids overnight – you get two for £5 and each needs to be replaced about every two to three months.

Other things you might need include drying kits (a small dehumidifying jar with two silica gel tablets) for hearing aids with disposable batteries, cleaning tools, cleaning wipes and swabs for dry behind-the-ear hearing aids with earmolds. Find out what extras you’ll need for your specific aids and you can get an idea of ​​the ongoing costs.

More expensive items you may also have to pay for include:

  • Replacement wires (receivers) – if they break after the warranty expires (£40-£80 per helper)
  • ear molds – they can perish, not hold if you lose weight or discolor
  • Replacement charging units – for rechargeable aids, cost between £100 and £400, but retailers may very well offer cheaper prices.

Last but not least, it’s important to remember that your hearing aids will need to be replaced after about three to five years.

4. Compare different offers

Retailers offer different “bundles” or packages of hearing aids. For example, warranties range between two and four years, which can make a big difference if you need repairs or spares (repairs can usually cost between £100 and £200).

This makes it more difficult to compare costs between providers.

Items you will want to check include:

  • Trial period/money back guarantee
  • Warranty and what it includes
  • Repairs and replacement aids – what’s offered under the warranty and when it runs out
  • Follow-up appointments – how often/ with whom
  • Maintenance items including batteries, wax traps, spare wires, cleaning kits

We’ve put all this information together in our hearing aid price comparison guide.

5. What happens if you lose a hearing aid

Audiologists told us they had reports of a huge increase in lost hearing aids during the pandemic. It turns out that putting on and taking off a face mask is a surefire way to say goodbye to your hearing aids, which could be a costly mistake.

The RNID recommends:

  • face coverings that wrap around your head and don’t touch your ears
  • try to only remove your face covering when you are in a place where your hearing aid can be easily found if it falls
  • try a mask extender that connects the straps to the back of your head. You can buy them or make your own.

Some hearing aid retailers offer bespoke insurance products to cover losses. Check your retailer’s replacement policy and what your personal property insurance policy covers before purchasing insurance, as it may cover loss, theft, and accidental damage.

Also check your policy for any exclusions – for example, what would happen if you lost an aid while swimming.

Find out how to buy the best face covering and the best and worst reusable masks and coverings, or check out our advice on transparent masks.

6. Don’t overlook NHS hearing aids

In our hearing aid survey, two-thirds of those who chose to buy privately did so to buy a better quality hearing aid than that offered by the NHS.

But the NHS buys and prescribes the same brands you’ll get if you go private. The most popular brand purchased privately by our 2020 survey respondents was Phonak, and it was also the most popular brand for those who got theirs from the NHS.

The NHS does buy ‘last year models’ from companies such as Phonak and Starkey, and they tend to buy mid-range devices, although hearing aid choice will depend on your individual hearing loss.

So unless you need specific aids with high-end or bespoke features, you won’t necessarily miss anything, although you might have to wait a bit longer.

Find out the pros and cons of the NHS versus private hearing aid companies to decide which is best for you.


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