Specsavers Audiologists promises to ‘tailor your hearing care to your individual needs’ and provide ‘great value’. But does it live up to these claims?
Specsavers Audiologists is a major hearing aid provider in the UK, with 138 dedicated hearing centres and 586 optical stores that provide hearing-care services. Specsavers earned an overall customer score of 74% in our survey of Which? members and other adults who have bought hearing aids. This is the fifth highest customer score of six companies. Independents top the table with 86%. Specsavers customers rated it excellent for the thoroughness of its testing, and good for its testing environment including comfort, privacy and cleanliness. But it was average on all other areas including aftercare and staff as well as aspects of its hearing aids – including appearance, range offered, comfort and suitability for the individual. Its average rating on after-care may help explain why Specsavers customers were significantly more likely (66%) to report problems with their hearing aids. However it should be noted that problems with hearing aids are normal, especially as you get used to wearing them – 57% report problems across retailers – and what’s important is how the retailer follows them up and adjusts your aids to suit you. One Specsavers customer praised: ‘…good quality follow up service afterwards on the few occasions when I have needed to take them into Specsavers for attention.’ While another had a very different view: ‘I have had absolutely no follow-up from Specsavers, despite being told by them that they would call me a week or two after the fitting to see how I was getting on.’
See the table below to find out how Specsavers performed in all areas
Specsavers hearing aids with Customer star rating
Waiting times ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Testing environment ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Staff ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Thorough testing ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Product range ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hearing-aid appearance ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hearing-aid comfort ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hearing-aid suitability ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Aftercare ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Price ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Sample size 293
Customer score 74%
Specsavers and the NHS
In some areas of England, customers are assessed by and get their hearing aids and aftercare from Specsavers, but the NHS foots the bill. This is called the Any Qualified Provider (AQP) scheme and starts with a referral from your GP. Specsavers says it now provides AQP hearing services in over half of England (you can check if your area is one that is eligible, on the Specsavers website). One customer who got their Specsavers hearing aids through this scheme said: ‘I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of service and the sophisticated hearing aids offered by Specsavers. Had expected the NHS to provide something old-fashioned, but what I got was a modern unobtrusive product which I have been very happy with.’
It should be noted that AQP customers will not be offered the same range of products as private customers because of agreements on what models can be offered, but the NHS does offer mid-range hearing aids from the same manufacturers as private companies through AQP.
To find out more about how Specsavers Audiologists compares with other providers, visit our best hearing aid providers overview page.
Specsavers Audiologists hearing-aid prices
The average price paid by Which? members for a pair of Specsavers Audiologists hearing aids was £1,850 – the lowest of the retailers (we didn’t have enough data to include Scrivens in this comparison).
Check out our guide to find out average hearing aid costs. Just under half (48%) of Specsavers customers paid between £1,000 and £1,999. Only 7% paid over £3,000 compared with 54% of people who bought their hearing aids from independents.
However, independents were rated higher than Specsavers on price (including cost and value for money), showing that price is clearly about more than what you pay for your hearing aids. Some customers mentioned the four years of free batteries included in the price. Specsavers’ 90-day money back guarantee is also more generous than others who typically offer 60 days. We’re pleased that Specsavers now publishes its hearing aid prices online, so that customers can find it easier to research what’s on offer in a market that can be confusing, as price is bundled with service and aftercare.
What brands does Specsavers sell?
Specsavers sells Signia, Widex and Phonak, as well as its own brand Advance. In our survey, 43% of its customers got Signia hearing aids; 27% got Specsavers Advance.
Specsavers own brand Advance hearing aid range is made by leading brands such as Widex, Signia and Phonak, although they are made to Specsavers’ own specifications and are programmed using software unique to Specsavers.
The three main brands customers got from the NHS were Oticon (26%), Phonak (24%) and Signia (15%).
Does Specsavers pressure-sell?
Nearly one in five (17%) of customers said they had felt some pressure to buy from the company. This is very close to the average of 16% across all retailers.
Specsavers customers were more likely to say they received no pressure at all from retailers for buying more expensive hearing aids (80% of their private customers said this) and buying an unnecessary first pair of hearing aids (also 80%).