Whats Included In The Nhs Hearing Service At Specsavers
We fit our NHS customers with digital hearing aids that use some of the latest technology. This enables us to help people overcome their hearing challenges effectively.
But our service doesnt end once NHS hearing aids have been fitted.
Ongoing access to aftercare and support is also available, often without the need for an appointment, so that we can help people to wear their hearing aids successfully and obtain the benefits they have to offer on a long-term basis.
Causes Of Hearing Loss
There are lots of possible causes of hearing loss. It may be caused by something treatable or it may be permanent.
Your symptoms may give you an idea what could be causing it. But do not self-diagnose, see a GP for advice.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
What Can You Expect A Hearing Aid To Do
Obviously, you want your hearing aid to help you hear better. And if you lead a simple life you may just need a hearing device that will help you engage in quiet one on one conversations or hear the television more easily. In this case, the lower priced products from reputable manufacturers will be more than adequate.
There is a great deal of truth in the old adage you get what you pay for. And if you settle for one of the really cheap hearing devices sold online then you may find the results are worse than useless. Many of the really cheap hearing devices sold online fail because they are:
- Poorly made from inferior materials
- Uncomfortable and poorly fitted
- Unsuitable for your specific hearing loss
- Very basic with no customisation possible
- Lacking backup and expert support
Modern technology means that modern hearing aids can offer so much more. House of Hearing recommends only the most trusted hearing aid brands that offer real value with advanced customisation features, noise protection, wireless connectivity, automatic listening level adjustment, and so much more.
Qualified audiologists are trained to help you find the perfect hearing aid for your needs and your budget. Our House of Hearing audiologists and technicians can show you what a difference a well-designed and fitted hearing aid from a reputable brand can make.
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Your Financial Situation Has Improved
Maybe when you bought your first pair of hearing aids a few years ago, you needed the most basic and economical option. But if you can now afford more advanced devices, it might be time for an upgrade. Some people buy new hearing aids and keep their old ones as an extra set in case their new devices need repair.
Batteries Repairs And Replacements
If you have an NHS hearing aid, you can get free batteries and repairs from the NHS hearing aid service who fitted your hearing aids.
Ask your audiologist about how to obtain batteries and request servicing and repairs.
You may need to come in for an appointment, or you may be able to send off for a battery or repair in the post.
Your local hearing aid service can also replace hearing aids that have been lost or damaged, although there may be a charge for this.
If you have a private hearing aid, contact your hearing aid provider if you need it repaired or replaced.
You may have to pay for this service if it’s not already included in your payment plan.
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Treatments For Hearing Loss
Treatment for hearing loss depends on what’s causing it.
Sometimes a GP may be able to treat the cause, for example:
- an ear infection might be treated with antibiotics
- an earwax build-up might be treated with ear drops or removed
If your hearing loss is not caused by something a GP can treat, they may refer you to a hearing specialist for further tests and treatment.
General Signs Of Hearing Loss
Early signs of hearing loss can include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in group situations
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching television with the volume higher than other people need
- difficulty hearing the telephone or doorbell
- finding it difficult to tell which direction noise is coming from
- regularly feeling tired or stressed, from having to concentrate while listening
In some cases, you may recognise signs of hearing loss in someone else before they notice it themselves. Research suggests it takes 10 years from the time someone notices they have hearing loss, before they do anything about it.
If you also hear a ringing, buzzing or whistling sound in your ears, this could be a sign of tinnitus, which is often associated with hearing loss.
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Are Earbuds A Viable Alternative To Hearing Aids
Technology has come a long way in recent years. Computers once filled entire rooms, but we now have an exponential amount of computing power available to us on devices that fit in our pockets. It seems like we keep finding new ways to improve the devices that make our lives easier.
Hearing aid technology is no exception. The non-prescription earbud was recently developed as an alternative to the hearing aid.
Lets examine the differences between earbuds and hearing aids and how they compare.
What To Do If You Have Problems With Your Hearing Aid
If your hearing aid is not working properly or you feel it needs some adjustment and it has been thoroughly cleaned/checked for wax or any blockages ) then you will need to contact the department. You will then be advised to either post the hearing aid in to be checked along with a cover letter and a stamped addressed envelope or where it is felt appropriate booked in for an appointment to see a technician or an Audiologist.
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Nhs Hearing Aid Batteries
Humans still havent figured out how to integrate microscopic nuclear power reactors into hearing aids, which unfortunately means they cant run indefinitely theyre going to need some batteries.
But if youre using a couple of batteries every week for the rest of your life, you can see how this cost may add up over time. Since the hearing aid was covered by the NHS, could the batteries be covered too?
This was a lot of build-up for a simple answer yes, batteries for your NHS hearing aid are indeed free. Youll be able to collect them from your GP most commonly in sizes 13, 675, and 312.
Referral To A Specialist
Your GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist or an audiologist . The specialist will carry out further hearing tests to help determine what’s causing your hearing loss and recommend the best course of treatment.
Some of the hearing tests you may have include a:
- tuning fork test
- pure tone audiometry
These tests are described below.
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Nhs Hearing At Specsavers
Specsavers is now accredited by over half of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in England to provide NHS hearing services in local community settings, helping people to get the assistance they need with their hearing closer to home.
This means that people in some areas of the country who need help with their hearing do not necessarily need to go to a hospital to get the care they need, but instead, can choose to go their local Specsavers store.
Advantages Of The Phonek S+ M Over The Earlier Standard Nhs Model
I have quizzed audiologists on what technical advantages this newer model provides, but without much agreement. Individuals have said that:
- There are more channels in the speech frequencies which lead to clearer speech
- The software limits the loudness of sudden noises such as bangs and crashes while maintaining the loudness of speech
- In addition to the general purpose programme which is in operation when the aids are turned on, there are three more options:
- loop only
- loop plus microphone
- and the choice of either for music or for cutting down background noise with the microphone set on directional. I chose the latter.
- Less whistling
The internet does list the features of the Phonak S+ M but not, to my mind, in a user-friendly way. It leaves me no wiser about why anyone would go to much trouble to update to the Phonak S+ M. Neither does the internet list the cost of the Phonak S+ M which is hardly surprising since it is manufactured solely for the NHS. I do wish, though, that the internet would indicate how much one would have to pay privately for something similar.
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If You Are Eligible The First Step Is To Visit Your Gp And Ask Them For A Referral Into The Service
In the areas listed below, a GP referral is not required, and people are able to self-refer at a Specsavers store of their choice. If you live in one of these areas, visit your nearest Specsavers store for more information.
- West Hampshire
Please note that additional variations set by the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups around eligibility for the service can apply.
Access to the service and fitting of hearing aids following referral will depend on local NHS requirements and the outcome of the initial clinical assessment.
The Benefit Of Wearing Two Hearing Aids
Hearing aids worn in both ears can offer additional benefits when the degree of impairment is equivalent in both ears. When two hearing aids are worn:
- sound can be more natural and clear
- a lower volume setting may be used
- listening in noise may be less difficult
- it may be easier to localise sounds
- gives a sense of hearing balance.
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Benefits Of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids will not make your hearing perfect, but they make sounds louder and clearer, reducing the impact hearing loss has on your life.
Hearing aids can:
- help you hear everyday sounds such as the doorbell and phone
- improve your ability to hear speech
- make you feel more confident when talking to people and make it easier for you to follow conversations in different environments
- help you to enjoy listening to music and the TV, at a volume that’s comfortable for those around you
But hearing aids only help if you still have some hearing left, so do not put off getting help if your hearing is getting worse.
Audiology For Hearing Aid Repairs
If you are having difficulties with your hearing aid, please read the advice on this webpage.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: DROP OFF REPAIRS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE IN CERTAIN AREAS . PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
GENERAL TROUBLESHOOTING AND MAINTENANCE
If the hearing aid does not seem to be working properly or you are struggling to hear, please follow the steps below:
- Try putting a new battery and ensure it is in correctly with the sticker removed and the flat side of the battery facing towards you
- Check that the tube is not blocked with wax you may need to replace the tube or clean the wax out of the tube. If you have a thin tube, you can use a cleaning wire to remove the wax. Please check the How to clean your hearing aid section of this webpage for further advice.
- Check for moisture in the tubing which could be blocking the sound Replace the tube or leave to dry overnight outside the black pouch. If you use an earmould and this is a frequent occurrence, you can either request a stay dry tube or purchase a hearing aid air puffer to blow air into the tube.
- Check that the tubing is not twisted, squashed or split If so, replace the tube
- Ensure the volume control is at the correct volume
- Ensure you are on the correct programme/setting – Turn the aid off and back on or try pressing the button
- Check the microphones at the top of your hearing aids arent blocked use the small black brush to brush away at the microphones to get rid of any debris or wax
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A Quick Reference Of The Pros And Cons Of Nhs Hearing Aids
Private Hearing Aids vs NHS Hearing Aids – In Conclusion
Yes, the style of NHS hearing aids has altered over the years and now all hearing aids dispensed by the NHS are digital and include some level of technology. However, this technology is just as limiting as to the shape choices available to you. We, at Hearing Aid UK, understand that buying a hearing aid is a reasonable investment. But an investment that enriches our lives.
People are now acknowledging that hearing is important and that finding a hearing solution gives us the best quality of life like wearing glasses. There are innovative designs out there that promote style, positivity and open doors for hearing loss. The way in which we talk, see and think about hearing aids has changed.
Behind The Ear Hearing Aids:
BTE hearing aids are one of the most popular styles of hearing aids. They have two main parts – the part with the electronics, goes behind the ear the ear mould sits in the bowl of the ear. For the ear mould to fit, an impression of the individual ear is taken. Modern types of behind the ear hearing aids feature an open fit technology. They do not require an ear mould but instead, have a thin tube that delivers sound from the hearing aid into the ear canal. For some types of hearing loss this can provide a more natural sound. It will depend on the level of your hearing loss and department policies as to which fit you will be offered.
Body-worn Hearing Aids:
The body-worn hearing aids consist of earmolds/earphones equipped with a loudspeaker connected to a small box containing the controls, battery, and an amplifier that you can attach to your clothes or put in your pocket. Although the NHS still provides these types of hearing aids in certain cases, they are not very popular anymore.
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St John’s Hearing Aid Centre
In the case of St John’s Hearing Aid Centre, we pride ourselves on a friendly, personal and professional service, including:
- Free aftercare service
- Interest free payment plans
We are approved suppliers for a wide range of from leading manufacturers, including Oticon, Starkey, Phonak, Unitron, Widex and more.
If you live in the Cumbria, Lothians or Fife area, you can read more on our page.
Feel Less Like A Number
We know that independent audiologists, like us, were rated 86% this year in the 2021 Which Report? by patients in regards to the service and hearing aids purchased. We also know, from experience, that patients feel less like a number and more valued as an individual when they opt for private care.
Every hearing loss is different
Your hearing loss is just as unique as you and deserves the right treatment with the right hearing aid provider. However, we understand that each and every person is different and what might suit someone might not be right for the next.
There are so many factors when considering private or NHS hearing aids – you just have to weigh up what’s the most important to you in regards to your hearing.
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Other Types Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs if the sensitive hair cells inside the cochlea are damaged, or as a result of damage to the auditory nerve . In some cases, both may be damaged.
Hearing loss caused by age and exposure to loud noises are both types of sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss can also be caused by:
- the genes you inherit some people may be born deaf or become deaf over time because of a genetic abnormality
- viral infections of the inner ear such as mumps or measles
- viral infections of the auditory nerve such as mumps or rubella
- acoustic neuroma a non-cancerous growth on or near the auditory nerve
- meningitis an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
- encephalitis inflammation of the brain
- multiple sclerosis a neurological condition affecting the central nervous system
- a head injury
- malformation of the ear
- stroke where the blood supply to the brain is cut off or interrupted
Some treatments and medicines, such as radiotherapy for nasal and sinus cancer, certain chemotherapy medicines or certain antibiotics can also damage the cochlea and the auditory nerve, causing sensorineural hearing loss.
People with diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease are also at increased risk of hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and hearing aids are often required to improve hearing in these cases.
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