The UK’s hard of hearing population is estimated at around 9 million strong (source: Action On Hearing Loss / 2005 Survey). The overwhelming cause is linked with age related hearing loss, an incurable form of hearing loss that can be managed but never truly ‘cured’. There are a number of aids that are tasked with helping the hard of hearing manage their hearing loss so its influence on their daily activities is minimised. The most popular (and probably the most useful) are a group of hearing aids that fit inside or around the ear canal of the wearer and function to amplified external sounds.
There are three methods for obtaining a hearing aid, however before a hearing aid is bought it is important to diagnose the precise cause for the loss of hearing. While age related hearing loss couldn’t truly be cured, there might be other reasons for the underlying condition such as an infection so the cause has to be investigated. Hearing loss investigating is performed during a hearing test. The test can be taken at a high street hearing aid store, at a local audiology department of your local NHS hospital, at a private hospital (if private insurance is present) and on a very basic form, at your family GP.
Three Methods For Obtaining A Hearing Aid:
The NHS – The National Health Service despite its budget cutbacks is still distributing nhs hearing aids for people in need. The process is longer compared to the other two private methods and the styles of digital hearing aids available to the public are limited. In a nutshell, the process requires initial visit to the GP who will run through a screening process to determine the reason for the hearing loss. You may you then get referred to your local hospital’s audiology department for a diagnostic hearing evaluation and should the recommendation include the use of a digital hearing aid, a waiting list may apply.
Online – Digital hearing aids prices vary depending on the brand, model and heavily depend on the source from which the aid is obtained. The Internet is offering a means to purchase hearing aids and their accessories such as hearing aid batteries at a fraction of the high street cost and while these hearing aids are not free, you are not tied to governmental targets, their prices are very affordable and limited styles are no longer an issue. Be sure to check the seller’s return policy to put your mind at ease.
High Street Chains – The major hearing companies offering a wide range of digital hearing aids that are available to purchase then and there. You must be aware tough that in their nature, high street stores are very expensive and some models of hearing aids may exceed £3000 in price. The high prices are often related to costly rental rates that these stores have to pay and extraordinary profit margins that they keep.
While most hard of hearing find hearing aids very useful, there are other devices such as phones for hard of hearing that are only available privately, but very affordable. Amplified phones, digital hearing aids and other amplified devices help the hard of hearing manage their hearing loss on a daily basis.