Looking for advice

Hello All,

I'm new here, in the process of trying to find some help on hearing aids, I came across this site.

I have had hearing aids for about 8 years. First off, I had NHS aids with ear moulds. I don't really remember how much better I could hear, I just know I hated the ear mould that I found very uncomfortable. I have always had tender ears! For the past, I think, about 6 years I have had Siemens HA with small domes which I find much more comfortable. I couldn't say they made my hearing anywhere near perfect, or even acceptable, lack of interest after purchase?? However, last year I saw a different audiologist who did actually make a difference. Did another hearing test, that none of the others had bothered to do, and added another program. Now I'm being told that technology has moved on and I should buy new aids which would give me much better hearing. Widex 110 has been recommended. When I looked at a report online, it said that this is a basic entry HA. Is this recommendation in my interest or to do with money?

Can anyone tell me if the NHS now provide HA's with the discreet more comfortable fitting you get with private aids?

Any comments and advice would be much appreciated.

14 Replies

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  • I've had NHS hearing aids fitted about 7 months ago. They're of the dome type and work quite well. They're not particularly visible - the aid is behind the ear and there's just a thin tube that goes down into the ear. If you've longer hair they would be very difficult to see. The aid is slightly larger than private ones but then the battery last 2 weeks rather than 2 days. The sound quality is not great in noisy rooms.

    You can get private "in-ear" aids which are not that easy to see, but I'm not sure the NHS do those, and all natural sound is cut out by those.

  • Many thanks Mark, Is the tube that goes into your ear hollow, or a thin wire like I have with private aids? How many programs do you have? I have one that cuts out background noise supposed to be for TV. I was told that this program could not be made louder. The aids I have don't have any volume control. Turning up the volume on the TV often distorts the clarity. I'm trying to decide if it's just sales talk getting me to buy new aids. As I said in my OP my NHS aids have ear moulds which I really hate! What have I got to loose going back to NHS and see what they say.

  • The tube is hollow but quite thin. I only have the one program, the private one I tried had many which were automatic. I find I can just have the TV at normal volume and hear it OK. I was going to go private but I thought I had nothing to lose by trying the NHS one, and it's better than I expected. I might eventually go private once I've worked out what works best. But I have lost one aid already (going through thick woodland, a branch must have caught it), I had to pay for its replacement but that was still a lot less than a private one.

  • Well, that gave me a little chuckle - but I bet it didn't do the same for you, losing your aid! You say that you tried a private one. Did you have to buy it and get a refund? The audiologist trying to sell me new ones, said I couldn't try before I buy but I could return them for a refund if I didn't get on with them! I think many of us try the NHS ones first. I must have a look at mine - been in a draw for several years now - I just don't remember what programs it had, but I do think it had a volume control. One thing I find really difficult is the phone and try to avoid it if I possibly can. Using the speaker button does help, but I'm always asking people to repeat. People who have good hearing, just don't understand what it's like and think that shouting is the answer. Good to get a few grumbles off your chest! Your replies have been really appreciated, thanks.

  • Yes I understand all that! The private one I tried was just lent to me by the Boots lady for a couple of hours to walk around and have a conversation with my wife in a noisy cafe. They should be able to let you borrow one for a bit. I think the aids are improving all the time. I hope in 20 years time they'll be minute and last for ever!

  • Thanks for that Mark5. When I asked Specsavers if I could try it, the answer was no - some people don't bring it back. You would have thought that having been a customer for about 10 years would have made a difference. If in 20 years time, hearing aids are the best thing since sliced bread, I won't be around to benefit from them!

    Best wishes

  • Hi, I have NHS hearing aids, I've never tried private ones. Mine are Siemens Teneo S+, I have 3 programs on it, one everyday one, one for background noise suppression and one for music which I'm quite impressed with. I did try them with ear moulds but they were very uncomfortable, so they switched me back to domes, which I get on with better.

    My mother also has NHS hearing aids and was offered in ear hearing aids (I wasn't.) It seems to vary by locality, so it is worth checking what is offered locally.

    I was also offered the opportunity to have NHS hearing aids supplied and looked after by a local private hearing aid company. My mother was also offered this. We both declined as we're happy enough with NHS audiology.

    NHS services have definitely improved in the last few years, it is worth investigating what they offer in your area. At least when they recommend an upgrade, you know that it's not motivated by the need for a sale!

  • Thank you so much for the information, very interesting. Music is one thing I don't seem to be able to hear with my private aids, even music I know well, is unrecognisable! I am feeling more and more encouraged to go back to NHS. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said they are not motivated by the need for a sale. As soon as I get back from holiday, I will make an enquiry about how to get an appointment.

  • Just ask your GP for a referral. You'll see an ENT specialist first, to eliminate any treatable causes for your hearing loss, then they will refer you to audiology. It can be a slow process but it's worth being patient! It can be a slow process but once you're in the system, it's good. My local hospital has hearing aid clinics daily so that I can just call in if I have any problems. I've worked in the NHS since 1978 and I'm impressed with the improvement in hearing aid services since digital hearing aids became available. Good luck, I hope your local hospital is as helpful as mine has been!

  • Thanks Maci, I had a referral about 8 years ago, followed by the tests. I was then supplied with 2 NHS hearing aids with moulds. They were so uncomfortable I gave up after a couple of years and went private. I am hoping that I only need to get an appointment with the NHS audiologist - will they welcome me back into the fold? We only have a Community Hospital in our small town and the last time I went there, the audiologist only came on visits once and week. I now need to find out who to contact to get an appointment.

  • Hi Bobbie - i'm sure you'll be welcome to come back. They may need a new referral as it's been a while - you could find out where the main audiology dept. is and give them a ring to find out the procedure.

  • Yes, Maci, that's just what I'm thinking - do I start all over again. At least I do have my Specsaver aids, so having to wait shouldn't be a problem. It could be worth it in the end.

    Best Wishes

  • Good luck :)

  • Thanks Maci, I had a very quick reply from the ophthalmic department of our nearest main hospital. They said, what you suspected, I must go back to my GP and start again. At least I have my Specsavers aids, so time is not an issue. Best wishes.