More than three quarters (76 per cent)of people in the UK with a hearing loss say that the high level of after-care offered by independent hearing centers is the primary reason for choice over national outlets or the NHS, according to new research.
The results also show customers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to buying their hearing aids, with nearly two thirds (63 per cent) saying they had looked at other channels before buying from independents.
The survey of 360 adults was commissioned by Phonak, and found 80 per cent were likely to recommend independent centers to others looking to purchase hearing aids. Furthermore, more than half say they bought their hearing aids the same day as visiting their audiologist.
Following their experience with independents, the top three drivers of satisfaction among customers are: a good after-care service (62 per cent), being treated like an individual (34 per cent) and the expertise of staff (32 per cent). More than two thirds of respondents (68 per cent) also say they have been to see their audiologist in person since receiving their hearing aids, further re-enforcing the high level of customer interaction.
When it comes to the most important factors for influencing their choice of hearing aid, customers highlight: the most appropriate device for their hearing (58 per cent), comfort (56 per cent), level of technology (51 per cent) and audiologist recommendation (50 per cent) as the top qualities. With the average length of time being 4 years before someone experiencing a hearing difficulty visits an audiologist, the key reasons for prompting a customer to finally book an appointment were: difficulties following conversations (83 per cent), difficulties hearing the TV or radio (64 per cent) and difficulty hearing their partner (63 per cent).