How to Get NHS Hearing Aids: Complete Step By Step Guide
Anyone can fall victim to hearing loss problems at any point in their life. Whenever someone falls victim to hearing loss problems, their usual way of life gets affected by it. People with hearing loss problems face considerable difficulties communicating with other people and issues in almost all aspects of life that require hearing abilities. That's why they need something that can ease their challenges and make their life more convenient. Hearing aids can be of massive help to those in this position.
Most hearing loss problems are sensorineural or permanent types of hearing loss, so they can't be cured totally. Instead, a person with permanent hearing loss has to resort to a treatment method that will help them listen better and keep their hearing health from further deteriorating. And for that, nothing works more effectively than hearing aids.
Hearing aids can help a person listen to sounds better and keep the hearing from getting further damaged. That's why it's paramount for people with hearing loss to use hearing aids.
Even though it's crucial to use hearing aids for people with hearing loss, many people refrain from using them due to their high price. Hearing aids can cost a lot. Owing to not using hearing aids, their hearing problems keep getting worse. That's why it's essential to find an alternative way of bringing hearing aids, preferably utterly free of cost.
In this article, we will talk about one such option for the people of the UK. The National Health Service or NHS of the UK offers free hearing aids to anyone that needs them. NHS Hearing Aids are available for anyone in the UK that is suffering from hearing loss problems. In May 2020 informs us that around 46% of adults with hearing loss got their hearing aids through the NHS.
You will get to know about the procedures of getting NHS Hearing Aids throughout this article.
How You Can Obtain NHS Hearing Aids
The process of obtaining NHS Hearing Aids isn't difficult. The process is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps you need to follow throughout the process:
Talking to the GP
The most common way of getting NHS Hearing Aids is by making an appointment with your doctor or GP. The audiologist will make you go through a screening process to understand if you are facing any hearing concerns or not. Some doctors might offer you diagnostic hearing evaluations within their practice. You can also take an online hearing test to determine your level of hearing before visiting your GP. You can show the audiogram results to the doctor.
After you visit your doctor, they will determine whether your hearing loss problem is solvable or not. For example, if you are not suffering from a permanent or sensorineural hearing loss, they can help you recover. Also, if your problem has been caused temporarily by earwax blockage in the ears, they will help you recover from that.
On the other hand, if you need hearing aids to deal with your hearing loss problems, they might not offer a diagnostic service. In that case, they will refer you to the audiology department of a local hospital for going through a diagnostic hearing evaluation.
The entire process of making appointments falls under the governmental targets. Almost all the trusts or hospitals that are associated with the NHS meet these targets. One patient even had to wait for two years to get an appointment, while now, most patients don't have to wait for no longer than two months.
An audiologist administers a hearing test that helps determine the severity or degree of hearing loss a person is experiencing. Beeps are sent at different volumes and pitches to the patient's ears through headphones for conducting the tests. The results of hearing tests take the shape of an audiogram. The degree of hearing loss is measured in decibels. If the hearing tests indicate that a person is suffering from a permanent form of hearing loss, and need hearing aids, then they will be recommended a hearing aid from the available range of NHS.
Most hearing aid types of NHS might not suit you at this point, but these days a large number of audiology departments are trying to provide some immediate fit solutions. The department will take a test of your ear canal to aid the fitting of your hearing aid. Then you'll have to make an appointment sometime in the future to come back and have your hearing aids fitted. The appointment usually comes after 2 weeks or a bit later.
You will be offered In-the-Ear or ITE hearing aids in very rare circumstances.
Hearing Aid Fitting
In this fitting appointment, the hearing aids are fitted from an audiological and physical perspective. The hearing aid dispenser or the audiologist will program your hearing aid to your hearing test results. They'll show you how you'll need to put your hearing aids on and also how to remove them. They will also take you through the different features of hearing aids.
There's an interesting fact that many people seem to forget. The NHS will only loan you the hearing aids. They won't become your property. The hearing aids will remain the property of the trust or the hospital that issues them to you. You will have your NHS hearing aids after this appointment, and you will have them free of any cost. After all, the hearing aids will only be loaned to you.
After getting your NHS Hearing Aids, you need to make a follow-up appointment to regulate how you're getting on with the hearing aids. Also, if you need any adjustments or not, it will be after two weeks or so.
The audiologist or hearing aid dispenser will make adjustments for you during the follow-up appointment if you need any adjustments. You can also make any inquiries you want about using your hearing aids. The process officially ends at the end of this final appointment. If you need any ensuing appointments or other help, they will fall outside the governmental targets that were mentioned earlier.
So, it can be a bit difficult to get instant help for any further problems that you might have. This is primarily because of timing and funding issues.
Are NHS Hearing Aids Up to the Mark?
First of all, you should know that when it comes to the types of hearing aids, the NHS primarily provides Behind-the-Ear or BTE hearing aids. If the hearing problem of a person requires a different solution, other types might be provided on rare occasions. It is important to note that In-the-Ear or Invisible Hearing Aids aren't provided at all. You'll need to get them privately.
The quality of NHS Hearing Aids has improved a lot throughout the last few years. Also, the hearing care provided by the NHS has improved. You can go for NHS Hearing Aids with zero doubt in mind. They will be able to provide good-quality hearing aids without any cost.
Benefits of NHS Hearing Aids
Here are some benefits of getting NHS Hearing Aids:
Free of cost
Free follow-up care, including replacement batteries and repairs
Many hospitals and trusts that provide NHS Hearing Aids also offer drop-in clinics to aftercare, either at a center close to you or on-site.
Digital Hearing Aids that will accurately match your hearing aids are now provided as standard on the NHS.
Disadvantages of NHS Hearing Aids
Not much choice in terms of choosing hearing aid types
There will be a charge if you lose your hearing aids
You might have to wait for quite some time to get an appointment. This is ultimately the opposite of private care.
Good-quality hearing aids can be costly if you look forward to getting them privately. Some so many people are in dire need of hearing aids but aren't able to use them because of the high cost. Consequently, their usual life keeps getting hampered, and they find it challenging to communicate with other people and get on with their lives. NHS Hearing Aids can allow them to use hearing aids and start living their lives conveniently. That too without any cost.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do you qualify for a free NHS hearing aid?
Ans: You'll need a GP recommendation to have a hearing test through the NHS. If your hearing test indicates that you would benefit from a hearing aid, you are eligible for a free hearing aid.
Q: Will the NHS replace lost hearing aid?
Ans: The NHS hearing aid service that fitted your hearing aids can provide you with free batteries and repairs. Hearing aids that have been damaged or lost can be replaced by your local hearing aid service.