The Hidden Costs of High Street Hearing Aids
Here in the UK there are two main ways to acquire hearing aids. You either purchase them privately from a registered dispenser or you can take the NHS route to obtain hearing aids, potentially free of charge.
Of course, there is a difference in quality between NHS hearing aids and those bought privately. Many people prefer to buy hearing aids privately for a number of reasons:
- A wider choice of hearing aids to choose from
- Choice of brands, shape or design
- Choosing hearing devices suited for your hearing needs
- A range of pricing
- Ease and speed of purchase
However, there is also a big difference between seeing a private audiologist/hearing aid dispenser and buying hearing aids from a high street chain. Although high street options may seem better in price, just be aware that sometimes there are hidden costs to purchasing hearing aids through these suppliers:
Finding the Best Priced Hearing Aid
The price of your hearing aids should relate to your hearing needs and lifestyle. Hearing aids at the cheaper end of the scale are most suited to those that have a quieter lifestyle and are rarely in a large group, but more likely to have one-on-one conversations.
The more socially active and exposed to complex environments you are, the more likely you will need a more advanced hearing aid that has the appropriate features to cope.
Not Being True to Your Hearing Needs
Everybody’s hearing loss and lifestyle are different. With so many hearing aids on offer, finding the right hearing aid with all the right features you need requires time and research.
You should never buy any type of hearing device without a full and thorough hearing test, as the hearing aids will not be set based on your hearing loss and needs, which could actually further damage your hearing.
Purchasing hearing aids online is not recommended as you need to have a full, in-depth audiological assessment before a hearing aid is supplied (this is a legal requirement for our profession). Also, it is best practice that your hearing health is assessed on a regular basis.
Quality of Customer Service
Finding the best value hearing devices is actually not related to the hearing aids themselves – high street and private audiologists have access to the same products – it’s more to do with the fit and service given by the provider, as Which? discovered in a recent study on getting the best hearing aid prices.
Customer service and care is a major swinging factor. An audiologist who offers you great follow-up care may be the difference between you enjoying a new lease of life and your hearing aids sitting in a drawer.
You shouldn’t need to replace hearing aids after only a year, so be wary of anyone telling you that you should. Technology does not move that quickly and there is usually a three- to five-year life expectancy on hearing aids.
Time and time again I see patients who have been let down by the service of high street retailers and we have to start from scratch because their hearing loss wasn’t thoroughly assessed and their hearing aids are not appropriate for their needs.
Instead, I would advise you to save your time and money by speaking to a medical professional who specialises in hearing, such as a private audiologist at Steven Hale Hearing.