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NHS Hearing Aids Vs. Private Hearing Aids

money Deciding on buying a hearing aid and choosing the type and model can be a lengthy process as there are many factors to consider such as price, features or brand. To benefit the most from your hearing aid, you need to be sure it is the right one for your condition and at the same time fits your budget.

Not everyone can afford to buy hearing aids and unfortunately in many cases they delay the purchase or write it off completely. It is important to know, though, that any degree of hearing loss has a substantial impact on people’s lives and the improvement a hearing aid can bring should not be underestimated. To help such people and those who are apprehensive to buy a hearing aid for the first time the NHS provides an invaluable service for the UK – free hearing aids for anyone with a hearing impairment. The process involves a hearing test by a specialist to recommend a suitable hearing aid. The NHS although offering a limited range of hearing aids models and colours is an option worth considering for many hard of hearing. As every service that does not require financial investment, however, 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 will be liable for inflicted damage and may be asked to cover the costs associated with its repair or replacement.
  • There is 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 is usually up to 5-6 weeks.
  • Limited range. Although mostly digital, the hearing aids models offered by the NHS do not cover the variety of the private market and it is possible that you will not be completely satisfied with the hearing aid you get.
  • 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, the hearing aids from the NHS have other advantages. They come with free batteries and maintenance and 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.

If you are looking for a budget solution outside the NHS, online stores such as Hearing Direct are an option as 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.

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