“Why should I pay for private hearing aids when I can get them free on the NHS?”
If you suffer from a hearing loss then you know how important it is to get just the right hearing aid for you. While some people find that an NHS hearing aid is just what they need to manage their particular hearing loss, for others it just isn’t quite right. This could be for a number of reasons ranging from technology to simple cosmetic appearance.
While the NHS provides hearing aids for free, they never really belong to you. They are given on a ‘long term loan’ and remain the property of the NHS. Batteries and normal repairs are free but should any damage occur, you may be charged to repair or replace it.
The choice of styles available from the NHS is also quite limited. For example, you would not be able to obtain the more discreet models such as ITC (In The Canal) or CIC (Completely In Canal). NHS hearing aids are available in the following styles.
BTE (Behind The Ear) – This is a popular style and is made up of a plastic casing that goes behind your ear and a mould that fits in the ear.
Body Worn - A small box which can be fitted to your clothing is worn with a lead that is attached to an ear mould.
Bone Conduction – These hearing aids send sound vibrations through the skull using a specially designed headband.
BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) – This is similar to a bone conduction aid but requires surgery to attach a permanent implant into the bone behind the ear.
CROS / BICROS – This stands for Contralateral Routing Of Signal and is designed for people who only have hearing in one ear. This system transmits the sounds from the non hearing ear to the other. CROS is for people who have perfect hearing in one ear and BICROS is for those who have a hearing loss in that ear as well.
At the present time, NHS hearing aids cannot offer wireless technology. Many manufacturers now offer a range of accessories to connect your hearing aids to things like your TV, mobile phone or MP3 player but not everyone has the need for this.
NHS hearing aids incorporate good technology but do lack many of the features that may be available on some of the more advanced private hearing aids. This is not an issue for many people and they find that their NHS aid works perfectly for them. The most important thing is to find out what is best for you as an individual.