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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
    • 87 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    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.
    Still knitting!
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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.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • Hear-Hear
    • By Hear-Hear 11th Jan 18, 12:35 AM
    • 319 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
    • 1,311 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
    • 24,042 Posts
    • 62,650 Thanks
    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.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

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    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 13th Jan 18, 8:19 PM
    • 1,311 Posts
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    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
    • 38,615 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, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • wymondham
    • By wymondham 24th Jan 18, 10:13 PM
    • 5,114 Posts
    • 8,984 Thanks
    wymondham
    I have two private aids and these cost me about 3k!!!!!
    • magsue
    • By magsue 28th Apr 18, 11:17 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    magsue
    hearing aid private or NHS
    visited a private audiologist as my hearing was getting less sharper always had problem with certain tones
    we completed a hearing test and he sold me a package for 800.00 before the end he checked my ears and removed several pieces of wax and remarked that my ear canal was small
    Of I went with my new hearing aid which I could not use anything beyond basic introduction level was too intense and I was hearing other peoples telephone calls
    several further appointments later with me persevering and him insisting I try to work with the hearing aid I attended an appointment and whilst waiting he heard me having a conversation with his receptionist I told him I was not using the hearing aid and he finally gave me my money back. I should have gone to G.P for ears syringing and saved myself a lot of money this was 5 years ago I still do not use one
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 28th Apr 18, 1:31 PM
    • 10,138 Posts
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    margaretclare
    DH now has hearing aids from Amplifon. He's very satisfied with them.

    He had hearing aids from the NHS but was never satisfied with the way they worked for him. He went back a few times but they were never able to make any difference. The Amplifon ones are much smaller but, importantly, much more sensitive. The real test came when used in church. Problem with the others was that they magnified everything - noise bouncing off hard surfaces making it impossible to distinguish voices.

    Cost: 3,600. Worth every penny - he says. It's all about quality of life.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 28th Apr 18, 1:32 PM
    • 10,138 Posts
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    margaretclare
    I would only go for private aids if they were available on a try and return basis.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    Yes, this was the case with DH's new ones from Amplifon.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 28th Apr 18, 6:27 PM
    • 2,935 Posts
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    LadyDee
    Local NHS trusts supply different hearing aids. My friend has just got hearing aids, NHS calls them Signia - they are actually the new Siemens which you pay a lot more for privately. They are adjustable via an App on her 'phone, and she can just tap things like, TV, Telephone, etc. on her phone and they are adjusted (by Bluetooth I think) to what she wants them to do. In ear aids do not suit the type of hearing loss experienced by most people according to her audiologist.

    The audiologist took moulds of her ear canals and make up earpieces to suit her ears.
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