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Advice on discreet hearing aids

  john bunyan 09:53 30 Jan 2019

My family tell me I need hearing aids! I have been reluctant as the issue is most prevalent at high end , such as high pitch telephone, and low end, where I don’t hear my own footsteps! (In early military days, too much shooting with no ear defenders)

Being a bit vain I would like discreet, probably not NHS ones? Folk I know talk of battery cost etc. I believe prices are up to £1700?

Recommendations on specific makes and or tips for homework would be welcome. Indeed, are the NHS ones ok, although I could afford private ones?

  wee eddie 10:45 30 Jan 2019

I recently went to see my Doctor with hearing problems. A misspent youth in the entertainment industry was the cause. She sent me to get tested at the local hospital.

The test showed a drop in hearing in both ears, one more extreme than the other.

I asked about getting private Hearing Aids. The advice was, yes they are good but start off with the NHS ones, to get used to the concept of wearing them and to discover what you feel is most important in a hearing aid. You can then trade up, when you have mapped out your needs, as opposed to the accepting the latest selling gimmick which they will try to convince you to buy.

  john bunyan 11:18 30 Jan 2019

wee eddie

Thanks; good advice. I suspect many of us here may confess to a misspent youth. In my case not only shooting but the playing of loud music through "hi fi" systems such as Quad amplifiers etc. I think our local GP surgery has a visiting hearing test service. Trying to phone them usually means a long wait with "There are 8 callers in the queue", and the doctor, except for emergency, has a 4 - 6 week waiting list!!

  seahermit 01:46 16 Mar 2019

Only just noticed this older post, are you still dealing with this issue?

I think I must be something of an expert on, if not the technology, atleast the experience of getting decent hearing aids out of the NHS! Firstly, I would advise against rushing to a private hearing aid dispenser (maybe check them out later when you are wiser about the products and what you really need). Their aids are expensive and you will generally get only a marginally better device and a better service - all heavily dependent on the "quality" of the dispenser (don't touch Specsavers).

The NHS are variable, depending on what part of the country, and under pressure, so it's rather hit and miss, but the devices are free and you will gain valuable knowledge.

I have spent a year sorting out hearing aids, the first time they were issued to me they were useless because of reverberation, loud crackling and extraneous noise. They hadn't been programmed properly and it took a complaint and two more programming sessions before the hospital got it right.

I reluctantly had to be a "stroppy" patient, but it was worth it, I now have two pretty reasonable aids which can be adjusted for different situtions (noisy pub, quiet chat at home etc.). Also I received a lot of help from my local Social Services and was gifted things like amplifiers and microphones to connect to radio,TV etc.

You need not worry too much about discreetness - I found immediately that most people don't even notice a small device tucked behind your ear and, whilst you may feel awkward, they honestly don't care! Be bold and make people take you as you are, your comfort comes first.

  john bunyan 08:49 17 Mar 2019

Thanks. Post code lottery I suspect. Took me 5 weeks to get GP appointment. In our area Specsavers used to do hearing tests in the surgery. Now you have to go to a hospital- with a 1 year wait. GP suggested a free test at Boots, but was unclear what next- I suspect a long wait

  hastelloy 10:05 17 Mar 2019

At least a free test at Boots would give you an idea of the extent of the problem without having to wait - is it both ears or just one?

Boots sold my mother 2 aids for £2300 (supposedly half price) so I agree NHS is the best option.

  seahermit 13:42 18 Mar 2019

I was relatively lucky. After seeing the GP, there was just a 5-month wait before the hospital visits began. The state of the NHS is dire but think of some other parts of the world - little or no help at all!

The telephone is my last remaining hurdle. Most landline phones are now too mellow and the tone too muffled for me. For now I mainly use a Doro 5516 mobile - excellent sharp, clear sound and pretty loud. My Samsung smartphone is quite good, not as loud as the Doro. I have just switched landline phones again - to a Doro Magna 2005. It seems almost as good as their mobile, I may post another comment later after more testing!

  seahermit 13:58 18 Mar 2019

I should add that, although most phones now are supposed to be Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC), for me that did not work well and the volume was still a problem. The Doro mobile has an HAC setting in the menu but I found that leaving my hearing aid aside and just putting the Doro (on a normal setting) against my ear worked twice as well.

  john bunyan 14:59 18 Mar 2019


Thanks for further advice. I took an on line Boots hearing test using "Cans". The high pitched sound was the worst. However on a daily basis the problem is quite mild : people say I speak a bit louder and I need the radio or TV a bit louder, but telephones are fine. I will have a proper Boots test and see what to do next.

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