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Private, NHS or On-line hearing aids

(27 Posts)
fourormore Thu 19-Sep-19 17:27:40

I have recently had a 'free' hearing test and have been told I will need hearing aids. This was a free test in a well known High St shop.
I haven't had the final assessment yet but the price list shows that even level one aids will cost me over £1000.
I may be being cynical but no doubt I will be above level one hmm and prices of the the levels above rise by a couple hundred pounds per level.

I am aware that my hearing is a bit down but I am certainly not anywhere near deaf - most of the time I hear fine but on odd occasions I can hear the voice but am unable to distinguish the words. I don't need the TV blaring or anything like that.

Does anyone have experience of buying basic hearing aids 'on line'? Browsing this afternoon I have seen some at half the price of 'shop' ones.

Our NHS is so overstretched and with long waiting lists etc. but would the NHS route be best?
Any suggestions or experiences GNetters have had would be much appreciated.

luluaugust Thu 19-Sep-19 17:31:23

When my mum needed a hearing aid we had an NHS test and bought privately with the prescription as the wait was so long.

Alexa Thu 19-Sep-19 18:12:25

My NHS hearing aid has been and still is very good and the NHS audiology service excellent.

Recently the NHS trust here outsourced the audiology to SightSavers. In order for them to help clean and service my hearing aids I had to let them test me and provide their own hearing aids. I have returned twice to have those adjusted and still not right. I therefore still use the original aids I got from NHS in-house audiology.

I recommend NHS aids especially if the audiology service is still in- house.

Davidhs Thu 19-Sep-19 18:31:01

NHS every time, especially women who can hide the aids with a hair style. The behind the ear aids are more practical but don’t expect miracles in a noisy environment they all struggle give clear sound. The smaller “ in the ear” are expensive, fiddly and easy to loose, battery changing can be a challenge if you are not very dexterous.

Hetty58 Thu 19-Sep-19 18:37:12

My mother spent over 5K on two sets of hearing aids (she lost the first set) believing that the expensive ones were superior. Eventually, (third time around) she happened to be in hospital and got NHS ones. They were far better than the others - and absolutely free!

Oopsminty Thu 19-Sep-19 18:38:04

My mother had an NHS one which she loathed. Went private and was extremely happy.

LondonGranny Thu 19-Sep-19 18:40:34

I'd go NHS every time. Anything else has the profit motive.

Mal44 Thu 19-Sep-19 18:46:12

My DH initially had NHS hearing aids but could not tolerate the one in his right ear.He was advised by friend to try private hearing aids from well known high street opticians.They cost him £1400.00 but he has had no problem with them.I am so happy that he can now hear as well as me.

kittylester Thu 19-Sep-19 18:47:36

At least try the nhs first. Dh has had his fir a while. You can go back until you are happy, the batteries and tubes are free. The trick is to wear them all the time so your brain adapts.

vena11 Thu 19-Sep-19 19:04:03

I and my husband have just been fitted with NHS hearing aids with pressure from the family as they say we cant hear them . I have eczema of the ears for a few years my DH worked in a very noisy environment for years and it affected his hearing. I now hear thing I have not heard for years. I think I and DH says the same. I now hear the indicators in the car my clothes make a noise now when I take them off, my stairs creaking and my joints lol. Try NHS before you spend loads of money .

grannysyb Thu 19-Sep-19 19:15:47

I've had NHS hearing aids for about 15 years and am very happy with them. Bear in mind that you will have to pay for the batteries which are free to the people with NHS aids. Try the NHS aids first.

Squiffy Thu 19-Sep-19 20:25:09

The NHS has been fantastic for my DH. The aids are barely visible and the battery replacement service is free - apart from an sae for them to be sent in!

fourormore Thu 19-Sep-19 20:59:30

What amazing response and advice - thank you everyone!
I will definitely contact my GP and take it from there as, although health and well-being are important factors, I do have better things to spend a grand or more on!
Thank you all so much for your experiences and advice!

chelseababy Fri 20-Sep-19 06:53:29

Another vote for the NHS aids.

Jessity Fri 20-Sep-19 07:17:11

Another vote for NHS aids. DH and I have both tried private aids and spent thousands of £ between us. We hear just as well with the NHS ones.

Yes they are ugly but I hide mine successfully with my hair. Buying batteries for private aids is not cheap,

ayse Fri 20-Sep-19 08:26:08

Another vote here for NHS and their audiology service. Although waiting for the initial assessment took a while some years back, my husband received the old style pink aids. More recently they were changed for the new lightweight and less visible digital style. Servicing, repair and batteries are provided free of charge. In case of loss (my DH has also done this) replacements cost £50 so buying insurance for them is unnecessary.

I’d go with the NHS every time. The not for profit route for me

BradfordLass72 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:34:57

On a previous thread I mentioned our Practice Nurse's advice that all older people have their ears syringed before buying, or being tested for hearing aids.

It can make a big difference.

Fennel Fri 20-Sep-19 12:14:32

Where we live you have a choice. Go to the GP first and get a prescription for a hearing test. Wherever you go for it, it will be free. At least that was my experience.
I got mine from Specsavers, and can also get new batteries free when needed.

Lazigirl Fri 20-Sep-19 13:47:00

My OH has had NHS hearing aids for a few years. They are fine. A friend has spent thousands on his, his hearing is very poor and they have not helped at all. Call me cynical but the NHS audiologist is not selling anything, and if a hearing aid is unlikely to improve your hearing, which is sometimes the case, I think they would tell you. I don't know that there is anything vastly superior about private ones, apart from maybe the cosmetic effect, and ofcourse the price!

fourormore Tue 24-Sep-19 16:11:12

Thanks again to everyone for your advice and comments - I have spoken to a GP today and once I have seen the Health Care Assistant on Monday (just to check it's not just a case of syringing being needed) she will refer me to the NHS Audiology department. There will, no doubt, be a wait but I'm in no rush so that's fine.

Newquay Tue 24-Sep-19 17:29:01

I agree NHS every time. Do put some olive oil in your ears first to clean them out. As OP said you MUST persevere with them, putting them in first thing til bedtime every day to let your brain adjust! I felt like I was being stalked, all sorts of strange sounds to begin with but absolutely brilliant now. No use just using them every now and then

fourormore Tue 24-Sep-19 19:27:05

Thanks Newquay

Liaise Mon 30-Sep-19 16:40:10

I had NHS hearing aids for ten years but my hearing is gradually getting worse and I have changed to privately bought ones. I also suffer from tinnitus and they can be tuned in for that. If you have a phone they can be run on an app with different settings for tv, restaurant and chatting. They are also rechargeable. Each night they go into a little charger until morning. They have made a big difference and if you can afford them I think they are worth the expense.

HildaW Mon 30-Sep-19 17:21:17

Dh had the NHS ones via Specsavers but stopped wearing them after a few months as although they did help in ordinary conversations the limitations of the product meant for little fine tuning. So in larger social situations he was no better off - sound is just magnified equally.
Since we moved he found a small independent specialist and is now in the middle of trialing a much more sophisticated type - they are specifically set to his needs and he cannot believe the difference. Also the fit is so much better and they use a rechargeable system so none of those nasty little (and lethal) pill type batteries. So to cut a long story short if you can afford to go privately to a reputable specialist you have a much more personal system.

Davida1968 Mon 30-Sep-19 17:29:13

I have a close friend who has been "hearing impaired" for decades. She's always had NHS hearing aids and has got on well with them. She says that it's crucial to work closely with the audiologist and to keep on trying (trial & error) to get things right for you. Also my friend says exactly what Newquay states: that the aids must be worn all day, every day to be effective.