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NHS Hearing Aids Vs. Private Hearing Aids

Why should you buy a hearing aid from a private company when the NHS provides them for free? How do NHS hearing aids compare to privately provided ones?

Deciding to buy a hearing aid and choosing which one can be a lengthy process as there are many factors to consider. To get the most benefit from your hearing aid, you need to know it is the right one for your condition and is affordable for your budget.

Not everyone can afford to buy hearing aids and unfortunately in many cases they delay the purchase or write it off completely, especially when they've heard horror stories about hearing aids costing thousands of pounds.

It is important to know, though, that any degree of hearing loss has a substantial impact on people’s lives. Not being able to interact with people can lead to social isolation and the improvement a hearing aid can bring should not be underestimated.

How do NHS hearing aids compare to private?

The NHS provides an invaluable service for the UK – free hearing aids for anyone with a hearing impairment. This is important for people on a budget, and those who are apprehensive about buying a hearing aid.

The process involves a hearing test by a specialist to recommend a suitable hearing aid. The NHS, although offering a limited range of models, is an option worth considering for many hard of hearing people. However, as with every service that does not require financial investment, you should be aware of certain issues.

  • You borrow the device, you do not own it. The NHS hearing aid will be given to you as a loan and not as a gift. You could be liable for damage and may be asked to cover the costs associated with its repair or replacement.
  • There is a waiting time. Unfortunately, unlike purchasing your hearing aid privately and having it right away, getting it from the NHS will take some time. The waiting period can be between 6 weeks and 3 months after seeing your GP.
  • The range is limited. Although mostly digital, the range of models offered by the NHS is small. It is possible that you will not be completely satisfied with the hearing aid you get. Private hearing aid providers offer a large variety of models and colours.
  • No assistive listening devices. The NHS offers only free hearing aids and no additional devices such as amplified phones, induction loops, doorbells, loud alarm clocks, etc.

The hearing aids you can get from NHS include behind the ear, body worn, bone conduction, bone anchored, CROS and BiCROS. Buying hearing aids privately will grant you a much richer choice in technology, type, models, functions, design and colour.

However, hearing aids from the NHS have other advantages. You can obtain free batteries on request and any maintenance required is also free. They are a good choice for first time wearers who are not sure what type of hearing aid to get, or for those who cannot afford to buy one.

Freehearingtest Hearing Aids

Image of HD 91 Digital Hearing Aid balancing on fingertip HD 91 Digital Hearing Aid

At Freehearingtest we pride ourselves on giving our customers the most affordable option when buying hearing aids privately.

If you are looking for a budget solution outside the NHS, online stores such as Freehearingtest are an ideal option as we have an extensive range and prices per hearing aid start as low as £99 and come with a trial period and warranty so you can test the device and return it if it is not the best fit for you.

Our delivery time is 24hrs from the time you place your order. Most of our hearing aids can be adjusted to fit your audiogram. If you don't have one already you can take our online hearing test which only takes 3 minutes and you get your result immediately. Our qualified audiologist is on hand to give you any advice you need when selecting your hearing aid.

High Street Hearing Aid Options

Many high street specialists sell hearing aids as well. When you book an appointment with a high street store, a professional hearing aid dispenser will test your hearing. They will recommend which hearing aid will best suit your needs. These stores have high overheads and therefore the cost is generally higher than buying online. You can end up paying considerably more for a hearing aid you can get through the NHS or very cheaply through Freehearingtest.

Can I get an NHS Hearing Aid at a High Street store?

Yes you can. The NHS directly commissions and accredits a few high street stores to provide hearing aids under the AQP scheme.

This means that hard of hearing people who are over 55 years old can obtain NHS hearing aids through a local store. You still need to make an appointment with your GP as the first point of contact, but this is a useful option for those people not within easy reach of a hospital audiology department.

About Freehearingtest

We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, as well as information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing.

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