Hearing Tests- High Street, NHS or Private

I need a hearing test and probably a hearing aid. The quality of my hearing strongly suggests that. I'd like to hear from those who have went down the NHS route or the Private route.

There appear to be several options; use a High Street tester like Specsavers or Boots or ask your doctor to arrange an appointment for you with a NHS  audiologist, or go private.

It would seem to me that if I choose the audiologist route, NHS or private then I should know what kind of hearing loss I have and what has caused it, whereas if I go down the High Street route am I getting a trained professional or someone who has done a quick course on using a machine and reading the results and selling hearing aids !  Then again maybe the latter is good enough if I don't think it's anything other than age related: 70 plus!

If opting for the High Street test are there any questions I should ask beforehand such as the tester's qualifications and if the NHS will recognise the test. As it's my medical information can I get a copy of it and use it elsewhere ?



  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    Hi, we are not really supposed to ask for, or offer, any medical advice on this forum but if it were me, I'd go the NHS route simply because it's free for everyone who feels their hearing is not as good as it could be and I trust their skill and judgement. 

    All your questions can be answered by your GP, who can refer you on for testing.

    I know because I've been referred myself.  Hope that's helpful.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
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    I agree, start with NHS because hearing aids only work if you wear them, and if you find you can't bear the racket at least you haven't shelled out several £k.

    What's on offer is reasonably up to date nowadays.
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  • Torry_Quine
    Torry_Quine Posts: 18,828 Forumite
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    I would say NHS. In many cases it's exactly the same hearing aid 
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  • J63320
    J63320 Posts: 116 Forumite
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    A friend of mine had hearing problems and went to her GP,  who referred her to Specsavers.
  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,084 Forumite
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    I have been tested by Specsavers, Boots and the NHS

    My first in the ear hearing aid was with Specsavers years ago, II think it cost £1800 with a 3months  money back guarantee, I took them back and was refunded, when I was out I was overwhelmed with birds singing 

    On recommendation a few years later I tried Boots £2800 with I think 60 day money back, again I took them back. When I was out I heard every pram and pushchair squeak 

    The problem for me was I could hear pretty everything I didn't want to hear but although I could hear people talking I couldn't understand them, speech was a jumble.

    2 years later I tried the NHS, behind the ear aid. Great I felt these were much better, I don't wear them all the time, mainly when I visit family, my younger sons household seem to shout so I don't wear them, my eldest sons talk quietly and thats where I need them most.

    Some people I cannot understand and according to the NHS my hearing picks sounds up differently, high/low pitch, thus people sound as if they are mumbling 

    It's not so much I can't hear, I can hear the tap dripping,  it's more I can't understand the words.

    The NHS is totally free including batteries for life 
  • baser999
    baser999 Posts: 1,134 Forumite
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    My mother bought aids from Specsavers a few years ago and a few months back received an email reminding her that it was time for a hearing check. She’s 91, pretty much housebound and visually impaired so they said they could come to her however they needed confirmation that she didn’t have any earwax. Seems they waste a lot of time on home visits to many who suffer with this and have to reschedule their visits.
    Called GP to arrange earwax inspection and was told to go to Specsavers. Stressed this was very difficult to arrange so reluctantly they agreed to see her; diagnosed a little wax and suggested she buy drops as they don’t prescribe. Repeat GP visit a fortnight later, nurse said there was still a little wax but she could remove it ‘although not strictly allowed to’. Why not do this the first time around? Seems GP services no longer run to de-waxing, referrals instead to audiologists. 
    Left GP, Specsavers subsequently attended and said ears were clear but nurse had scratched mums inner ear; further delayed three weeks.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
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    There is a very long but informative thread on the Disability board if you're interested.


    Referral to Specsavers: in some areas NHS has contracted audiology out to them. They'll have the private options available too. One big advantage IMO is that they have a better idea of how to run an appointment system, ie "when would you like to come?" rather than "you can come at this (difficult) time on this (inconvenient) day".

    Private aids may have more bells and whistles than NHS options but I'd say the gap is decreasing. A friend has Bluetooth, for example.
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  • in_my_wellies
    in_my_wellies Posts: 1,647 Forumite
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    My mum had Alzheimer's and my aunt is blind. Both were entitled to two pairs of hearing aids because of the high probability of them being lost. This has been a godsend for my blind aunt as she lives alone and can't find it if dropped or removed (she removes it to listen to her talking books during the day)
    Mum's were via NHS hospital, aunt's were NHS via Specsavers. Both very up to date.
    Mum's had moulded ear pieces which due to her Alzheimer's she found impossible to insert herself but I was told there was no choice. She seemed to get on better with the older style plastic tube type which she could insert and never touched until bedtime whereas the moulds she would pull out ten times a day and fiddle with

    Mum never used her second pair but I'm told I can't return them. Still sealed in the box. This is such a waste of NHS money as I would have though only the mould need changing
    Love living in a village in the country side
  • kazwookie
    kazwookie Posts: 13,829 Forumite
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    I have NHS hearing aids, via local doctors who refered me to specsavers. All good, easy tests and follow up.

    (my dr's do not offer ear wax removal, if this is needed you need to book privately with local recommended person)
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  • unforeseen
    unforeseen Posts: 7,278 Forumite
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    Earwax removal is no longer available through the NHS as it is not considered an essential service
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