Listen Up to Avoid Hearing Aids Scams Across the UK

Monday, May 31, 2010

PETERBOROUGH, England, June 1, 2010 - One in seven people in the UK suffer from some degree of hearing loss; a
figure that rises to 40% for people aged 50 or over and a staggering 71% for
the over 70s. The only real solution for the vast majority of these people is
wearing a hearing aid (

The NHS provides reasonable quality hearing aids
( which sit behind the ear and connect
with a tube and clear plastic earpiece. Many people consider these to be
unsightly and would rather seek the services of private hearing aid companies
offering more aesthetic solutions. The range of technology in the private
market is truly astounding with features such as zoom microphones, noise
reduction and even artificial intelligence which adapts to the wearer's
preferences. As expected, these hi-tech solutions are more expensive than NHS

For many years, private hearing aid companies have been charging
exorbitant prices in the knowledge that it is virtually impossible to obtain
clear price comparisons. The internet has heralded the end of this scandal as
there are now networks of local independent hearing aid audiologists who have
waged a price war, such as They offer the same
local service with fully qualified hearing aid audiologists, long warranties,
free trial periods and free aftercare for the lifespan of the hearing aids
(usually five years). The only difference is that you will pay 30-50% less.

The growth of the 'silver surfer' is exploding and indeed most people
browse the internet before committing to purchase many items - especially
higher priced ones. Prior to this, only the larger national chains of hearing
aid retailers could afford to promote their products in local and national
media. These adverts rarely represent the true price that most clients will
end up paying. They entice the consumer into enquiring about "invisible"
hearing aids for a few hundred pounds. The reality is that you can expect to
pay between GBP500 and GBP7,000 for a pair of hearing aids; the average
purchase being around GBP2,000. As an example, the latest, state-of-the-art
hearing instrument, the Oticon Agil Pro would set you back around GBP6,000 a
pair from most national companies. The same aids can be found on for less than GBP3,000. If you're not concerned
about top-of-the-range products, there are also cosmetic, mid-range digital
hearing aids ( for little over GBP1,000
despite some companies charging in excess of GBP2,000.

In an effort to prevent the consumer comparing prices online, some
national companies have resorted to underhand tactics, such as renaming aids
so that the product appears unique to them. However, the true name of the
hearing aid can be obtained for comparison purposes by contacting one of the
internet discount companies.

Most national hearing aid retailers are not as independent as they would
like you to believe. Almost all of them are wholly or partially owned by
individual hearing aid manufacturers. This means that they have a vested
interest in recommending particular brands and do not stock the whole range
of hearing aids available. Internet hearing aid 'networks' are essentially a
group of fully independent local companies. They have no allegiance to any
particular brand and offer the full range of instruments on the market. It's
quite refreshing to see these smaller local companies take on the big boys
for the benefit of the hearing-impaired consumer.

Our advice to you is this:

    - Check on the internet and only contact a company who is prepared to
      show you their full price list. Avoid companies that don't because
      there's a reason for this.

    - Compare prices online for the best deal

    - Select a company that offers a local service. This is usually a

    - Never buy a hearing aid unless you've compared prices online. If you've
      had a hearing test then don't commit yourself until you've compared
      prices with an online network.

Beware mail order hearing aids. There are a handful of companies offering
cheap hearing aids on a mail order basis. In order for hearing aids to
deliver the required benefit, they need to be programmed for the client's
individual prescription. This involves, amongst many things, a hearing test.
These 'off the peg' aids come with a standard fitting and are not
individually tailored to fit the client either physically or audiologically.

Graham Clarke +44(0)800-328-3867

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