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NHS vs private hearing aids

A question we often get asked is ‘Why should I pay for hearing aids privately when they are available on the NHS for free?’ This is a great question and there really is no right or wrong answer. The real difference between the two options is choice – technology level and the time and cost of aftercare.

Hearing loss isn’t just about not being able to hear very well. Recent studies have provided clear links to other co-morbidities, including increased risk of falls and dementia. So, regardless of whether you choose the NHS or the private route for treating your hearing loss, deciding to treat your hearing is the key decision. But, do you choose NHS or private?  What’s the difference?

An NHS hearing aid works well in quiet one-to-one situations, but if there is background noise, they tend to make everything louder rather than clearer.

A private hearing instrument has better technology to accommodate different situations – it reduces the noise around you to focus on the person/people you are with and remove the effort needed to just listen.

The NHS solution tends to be ‘one size fits all’ whereas a private aid is as unique as your fingerprint and no two people are treated the same.

These are some of the questions we commonly get asked:

Do I need to see my doctor to get hearing aids?

Yes, if you want to pursue the NHS route for treating your hearing loss. If, however, you choose the private route, you can book an appointment at a hearing clinic such as angli-EAR Hearing at your convenience. Most audiologists will offer a free hearing screening to understand if there is an underlying loss.

Should I delay getting my hearing checked?

Regardless if you choose the NHS or private route the advice is the same – the sooner you treat your hearing loss, the better. If you can’t afford to pay privately, getting any treatment for your hearing is better than doing nothing. So please don’t delay.

How quickly can I get hearing aids?

If you choose the NHS route, the longest wait is likely to be for the appointment at the audiology clinic. If you do need hearing aids then, depending on your hearing loss, you may need to wait for impressions of your ears to be taken, to ensure a perfect fit before you receive your hearing aids. This can take around 8-12 weeks.

Privately, you may be able to get hearing aids the same day or within a few days. For custom-made items this may take up to 10 days.

Are the invisible hearing aids available on the NHS?

The NHS mainly provides “behind-the-ear” hearing aids, but not the invisible “in-the-ear” hearing aids – these are only available privately.

Will I get used to NHS hearing aids faster than private aids?

No. Getting used to a hearing aid actually occurs in your brain. Ensuring you get the right hearing aid for your hearing loss is key.

What are the costs in getting a hearing aid?

A hearing aid on the NHS is free on a long-term loan. Batteries and follow-up appointments are free.

A private hearing aid solution is usually a package of the hearing instrument and includes follow up appointments to make adjustments as your hearing changes.

To learn more about what we could do for you, get in touch online or call us on 01223 661399.