This is a small guide on where to get great care without taking big risks. We love our county and want to see everyone thrive and keep our local businesses and services supported. Here we highlight where you can get great care and where you can avoid unnecessary risk online.
As a family business owner and Director of a business that we as a family are extremely proud of, I would like to talk about what we see as worthwhile competition.
Why would you talk about your competition and why in a positive light?
Quite simply getting the right care for you the patient is critical to what we do. Sometimes a family business is not for everyone and some patients are better suited to a major chain. They may find more comfort in a major chain. They know what they’re getting and find comfort in recognised brands. They value that assurance over what we feel a better service an independent like Lanarkshire Hearing Centre can offer.
We hope by being transparent you will find the right place for you to have your hearing checked and if needed the best support for your hearing aids or ear wax removal.
In Lanarkshire both North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire you the customer are spoiled for choice when it comes to hearing aids and hearing care providers. There is absolutely no need for you to accept risky Facebook ads or online consumer websites promoting businesses they really don’t know a lot about or are being paid by a company to be there.
Shop local, visit the people you intend to do business with. If it sounds too good to be true guess what it generally is…
Another reason for writing this blog is to warn you the consumer of the ever-increasing Facebook ads promising you free hearing aids if you respond within the next 20 mins etc. What do you think they do when you click on this ad???? Yep they sell your information to a local business or in some cases they are a national company offering you something for free with the intention of selling something later down the line.
There are also credible consumer sights out there who do a great job recommending the best product for you and guide you with essential information. They also have a link to companies they recommend. The reality is some of these companies pay to be on that website….
First and foremost, shop around! Our own customers are sometimes left bemused when we talk positively about our competition. We think why not? As a customer you value transparency and as a business we value integrity.
Ask what they are going to do with my information? Are they going to pass it on? Does the advert I have just responded to have a base within 10 miles?
If you use a consumer sight or a Facebook add that’s vague make sure you ask absolutely millions of questions!! The more questions you ask the quicker you will find out if the person on the other end of the phone is either selling you as a lead or are genuinely a local company owner.
Ask the company whose advert you responded to tell you about all the local hearing centres. If they are a local business, they should have zero problem answering this. If they are credible, they should be able to tell you why this certain business is better than others.
Ask if the company who is going to test your hearing buys leads or pays to be on the website.
The common conception is you can get it cheaper online. To a certain extent that’s true. But what is value for money? If you buy a hearing aid online for £500 cheaper than you can buy it from Boots Hearing care for example and the company goes bust how cheap does that £500 saving feel now?
Now you may think I’m scare mongering here but this actually happened very recently. A company that predominately advertised through digital media and had no actual physical premises went under. We have helped locally with all the people who have spent £10000’s on hearing aids. What do you think is value for money for them now?
A lead generation company has one thing in mind…. To sell leads to another company. Quality genuine leads are hard to come by so they resort to things like free gift with this enquiry, pensioners go wild for latest digital hearing aid, 150 people needed to trial latest digital hearing aid for free.
Sounds good right? Let me burst the bubble here…. There is no such thing as a free lunch! Someone’s going to want something off you at some point. Those ads you click on are not free! They cost money to advertise whether that’s Facebook or Google therefore someone needs to recoup that money.
There are a few great websites out there which do great work when it comes to helping the consumer. They regularly update their websites and constantly post news about hearing aid technology. Some like Hearing Aid Know www.hearingaidknow.com (A personal favourite of mine) offer clear empirical evidence as to what the strong and weak points are of certain hearing aids. How do they do this? Well both Geoffroy Cooling and Steve who run the sight wear hearing aids.
As a consumer I would absolutely recommend you read these websites BUT there are some caveats. These websites do promote hearing care businesses. How and why they do it I have no idea. We reached out to the most popular and asked them, but they never responded. We feel this is unfortunate as they claim to be consumer champions. We therefore surmise that the companies advertised are paid members and have not qualified on a means tested basis. Keep that in mind but definitely use them to gather evidence on best procedures as they have brilliant information.
NHS Lanarkshire have hearing clinics on Castle street in Hamilton, Monklands hospital in Coatbridge and Wishaw General hospital in Wishaw.
The NHS Audiology services in Lanarkshire are believe it or not some of the biggest NHS audiology services in the UK. The Castle street office in Hamilton are located –
Telephone: Central Advice Line: 01698 456 556
The NHS Lanarkshire hearing centre is one of the busiest in the UK. They serve the 600,000 people of Lanarkshire and potentially 70,000 hearing impaired patients across the region.
The NHS Audiology teams do a wonderful job but they do have extensive amounts of people to look after with limited recourses. Also Ear Wax removal services are stretched and in some cases youcan’t get a wax removal appointment for 8 weeks although 2 -4 is the norm.
As always, your first point of call is your GP if you want to access NHS audiology services.
Owned and operated by Sean Walls And Carla De Mambro the optical factory is a brilliant family business. Although our direct competitors we recommend our customers to go here if they want great optical care. Of course, they are not as good as Lanarkshire Hearing Centre at hearing care(Just kidding) but are another great option in North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire!
The Optical Factory are based in East Kilbride, Hamilton and Wishaw. They operate similar to a factory outlet and can be found in industrial units. This allows them to have a lot of space for far less overheads. You will always feel like you have had a great experience here.
Boots Hearing Care is one of the main high street providers of hearing aids, the other of course is the big green giant Specsavers. Having worked for Boots hearing care for many years and at a senior level I would have no issues recommending them to anyone who did not find our services suitable. They have a good bunch of audiologists (I would have to say that employed them all) who will look after you and your hearing needs.
In Lanarkshire their two main centres are East Kilbride and Hamilton. They also have a day centre in Boots opticians in Motherwell. Sadly, they recently pulled out of Boots opticians in Wishaw.
None of the Boots Hearing care sights in Lanarkshire offer ear wax removal but do have good hearing aid and audiology facilities in the sights they do have.
Boots Hearing care are part owned by the Sonova group, so their main supplier is Phonak. Their other main supplier is Widex hearing instruments therefore you are likely to be offered one of these instruments.
Boots scored high on the Which report they were only beaten to the best hearing aid providers by independent’s like ourselves at Lanarkshire Hearing Centre.
The granny test is simply where would you send your granny? I would recommend the above to my Granny any day of the week. These are my personal recommendations that I would hope you would consider and keep shopping local. By all means use national websites but be cautious and ask lots and lots of questions.
As I said before value for money does not mean cheapest. Internet companies can easily beat retail business because of less overheads but ask yourself if that’s the only important metric? If price is the most important metric give your local business a chance to compete with the online retailer or the national chain. You have nothing to lose by asking and as a local business owner I would appreciate people giving me the opportunity to win their business.
So hopefully this little blog will help you. Even if you don’t intend to shop local, I hope this note has made you think ‘I’m going to give the local guy a chance’.
Steven Ross (MSHAA, RHAD)
58 Cadzow Street,