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NHS Hearing Aids

NHS hearing aids. Another subject I get asked about a lot. They are pretty basic, but not that basic. Hearing aids come in 3 or 4 levels of technical ability, roughly speaking:

1) Entry Level: suitable for home, radio, 1:1 conversation

2) Basic: can handle a group conversation. TV is OK too.

3) Advanced: can handle background noise. Makes background sounds comfortable, while enhancing speech of the person in front of you.

4) Premium: extra features such as advanced noise reduction, more automatic programs, advance wind noise reduction etc.

The NHS aids I have seen are all somewhere between entry and basic, in my humble opinion. They are not the most basic aids on the market, and it is certainly possible to pay £1000-£1500 privately and get something less advanced than the NHS.

In addition, the NHS only provide behind the ear aids in my local region. This means the dreaded ear mould and thick tube once your hearing gets worse than ~40dB at 1kHz (sorry, jargon).

If you want smaller aids with no ear mould, or want to hear speech in background noise or wind, basically, you need to look to advanced aids, and currently that means private hearing care.

If you rarely leave the home and have a mild/moderate hearing loss though, it’s well worth trying the NHS first of all. Your GP can refer you, and it’s free of charge.

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