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  • FIRST POST
    • Pennywise
    • By Pennywise 9th Jan 18, 9:47 AM
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    Pennywise
    Are private hearing aids better than NHS?
    • #1
    • 9th Jan 18, 9:47 AM
    Are private hearing aids better than NHS? 9th Jan 18 at 9:47 AM
    I've had NHS hearing aids now for a year. I've been back to audiology dept several times as they're just not right. In a social setting, i.e. meeting, party, etc., they're completely useless as all they do is amplify the background noise meaning I still can't hear people talking. In fact, over Christmas, I found I could hear better without them. They're fine on, say, a country walk, as they amplify bird tweets etc.

    Just wondering whether it's because the NHS ones are poor quality, and whether I'd have a better outcome if I got some privately - they're expensive, starting at £495. I don't want to fork out that kind of money if they're going to be similar to the NHS ones.

    Anyone got any guidance or experience in moving from NHS to private?
Page 1
    • Spelunthus
    • By Spelunthus 9th Jan 18, 11:29 AM
    • 68 Posts
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    Spelunthus
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 11:29 AM
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 11:29 AM
    There's a huge range of aids. Private suppliers may have access to a wider range of aids. The issue you describe is not uncommon -different hearing loss, different types of aids, different issues.... Private aids can be VERY expensive - £495 is nothing - you can pay 10 X that !! I suggest you book a private consultation & hearing test, and then discuss the options (and costs) that apply. Only THEN make your own mind up about benefit Vs cost as it applies to you. General advice is not much use.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 9th Jan 18, 12:45 PM
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    Tom99
    • #3
    • 9th Jan 18, 12:45 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Jan 18, 12:45 PM
    I would only go for private aids if they were available on a try and return basis.
    • missile
    • By missile 9th Jan 18, 3:50 PM
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    missile
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 18, 3:50 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 18, 3:50 PM
    According to my wife the middle of the price range hearing aids from Specsavers are better.
    Last edited by missile; 09-01-2018 at 3:52 PM.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
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    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Jan 18, 12:42 AM
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 18, 12:42 AM
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 18, 12:42 AM
    Have you been back and discussed this with audiology? It might be possible to get them adjusted better.

    The first NHS aid I had offered three settings. One was 'normal', amplifying everything. Two was 'in front', which did slightly reduce background noise. Three was the induction loop, which I love and use whenever there is one available. It also had a volume control ...

    However, when it was 'upgraded', I lost both the 'in front' setting, and the volume control. Hated it. It was supposed to adjust automatically, but it never did.

    My most recent aid has only two settings, but I insisted on a volume control. Sadly we never managed to get the mould comfortable, and now I've lost it. So this year is the year I sort another one out.

    Private aids can offer a lot more 'features'. For example, there may be a 'music' setting. Most aids will normally cut out briefly if overloaded with noise: this is inconvenient in Scottish dancing, for example, when a loud chord often announces the start of the dance. If the chord switches off your hearing aid, the dance may start without you.
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    • Prinzessilein
    • By Prinzessilein 10th Jan 18, 9:02 AM
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    Prinzessilein
    • #6
    • 10th Jan 18, 9:02 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Jan 18, 9:02 AM
    The private hearing aids may 'start at £495' but the sale people will oush the MUCH higher priced ones.

    Some years ago my Mum looked into this as she was less than happy with her NHS one.

    The rep on the phone explained that without seeing Mum she was able to say that she would need to pay a minimum of £799 for EACH ear!!!!...and was really pushy about getting Mum to agree to having a sales person call round..which Mum refused - and eventually blocked the number (after 6 calls in an hour!)

    These people are not really hearing consultants....they are sales people.

    Mum eventually went back...a few times...to the NHS and is learning to live with these hearing aids
    • giraffe69
    • By giraffe69 10th Jan 18, 9:48 AM
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    giraffe69
    • #7
    • 10th Jan 18, 9:48 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Jan 18, 9:48 AM
    The best aids bought privately are better but there is no doubt they are more expensive. If you can stand the shock of being told how much (and £799 per ear doesn't rate shock) the perhaps worth going and finding out. You can get them cheaper on the internet but then things like repaira and servicing are extra.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Jan 18, 11:13 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 18, 11:13 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 18, 11:13 PM
    Having said all that, before DH went off to get his NHS aids we did get a free hearing test from Boots, the comprehensive one. The lovely lady fitted him with a pair quickly (oh the joys of tulip moulds you can pick out of a box!) and sent us walking round the shop with him wearing them so he could see what they were like and whether they made a difference.

    She was not pushy at all, and most definitely skilled and qualified! I believe servicing and repairs were free, and batteries included too.

    DH decided fairly rapidly he'd try NHS before going down the private route, and has found them perfectly comfortable (which makes me quite jealous!) so this post is just to say that it MAY be worth considering private. I have two siblings who've gone private and both felt the money was well spent while they were working.
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    • Hear-Hear
    • By Hear-Hear 11th Jan 18, 12:35 AM
    • 309 Posts
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    Hear-Hear
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:35 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:35 AM
    I would only go for private aids if they were available on a try and return basis.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    All private firms offer this - some as much as 90 days. But even with a 30-day basis, that gives you a good few weeks to try the aids in a variety of different environments.
    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 12th Jan 18, 8:34 PM
    • 1,187 Posts
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    SevenOfNine
    Husband has private ones from Specsavers & NHS.

    His private ones were not cheap (about £1800 with 3 years of unlimited batteries & maintenance included), give good quality hearing whatever is going on around him & extremely small.

    When he removes one the other is programmed to tell him "partner check", similarly, when the battery in either is getting low it says "battery check". Funny that, because when I tell him to "do the dusting", he doesn't hear a word! More selective hearing than hard of hearing sometimes it seems.

    NHS definitely less sound quality, bigger, slightly less comfy (marginally). He wears them only when playing golf & takes them on holidays as 'spares', just in case.

    He describes the NHS pair as adequate, but prefers the Specsavers ones.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 13th Jan 18, 9:03 AM
    • 23,314 Posts
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    pollypenny
    Sevenofnine, are his private hearing aids in-ear?

    My NHS behind the ear is uncomfortable. After wearing it last night, my ear is still uncomfortable, as the whole cartilage is pushed out.
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    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 13th Jan 18, 8:19 PM
    • 1,187 Posts
    • 1,140 Thanks
    SevenOfNine
    He has micro behind the ear ones (silver colour as got grey hair), & wears specs as well but has no problems at all. Comfy from day one, all fits neatly.

    They are a good 50% smaller than NHS, in comparison I'd describe the NHS ones as actually quite "sizeable".

    Won't hurt to go & take a look, ask to see the micro's. Of course, sound quality is paramount but if not comfortable you'll just be reluctant to wear them. Check the small print for the 90 day money back guarantee, might be good.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by SevenOfNine; 13-01-2018 at 8:29 PM.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 14th Jan 18, 12:30 AM
    • 37,970 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    Sevenofnine, are his private hearing aids in-ear?

    My NHS behind the ear is uncomfortable. After wearing it last night, my ear is still uncomfortable, as the whole cartilage is pushed out.
    Originally posted by pollypenny
    It sounds to me as if the fitting isn't quite right. There are quite a few variables which can make a difference: length of the tube would affect where it 'sat', for example.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 2 shawls, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 1 seaman's hat ...
    Current projects: 1 shawl, another seaman's hat
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