Hearing loss

NHS Hearing Aids or Private Hearing Aids: What Are My Options?


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When you need a pair of hearing aids, there are two options in the UK: you can obtain them via the NHS, or you can buy them privately from companies such as Wholesale Hearing.

Going the public or private routes both have their own range of advantages due to the differing nature of the two routes. Hopefully, the information below can help you to decide which route is best for you, your own financial situation, function requirements and level of hearing impairments.

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Are NHS Hearing Aids Good?

There is a misconception that NHS hearing aids are far older and less feature-rich than hearing aids you can get privately. This is certainly not the case.

Modern Phonak hearing aids such as the Nova are available on the NHS and have rechargeable features, streaming and long battery life.

While modern hearing aids are used, they may not have the most up-to-date versions of some of their models. Going private could provide you with more technology or features such as enhanced noise reduction, improved speech clarity, water resistance and the latest chips.

What Hearing Aids Are Available On The NHS?

Most of the hearing aid models you will receive from the NHS are digital and BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids. Some RIC (receiver in canal) hearing aids and others such as bone-anchored hearing aids are only offered in certain circumstances.

Going private will give you a better, wider range and more of a choice between models compared to the NHS who will give you the hearing aid they feel meets your basic requirements.  

Hearing aid accessories are also unavailable on the NHS.

Are Hearing Aids Free On The NHS?

One of the benefits of getting hearing aids with the NHS is the cost. Your hearing aids and hearing aid batteries are likely to be free and some repairs may even be covered too (as long as the damage isn’t too severe).

Keep in mind that the hearing aids you receive are not a gift to you, but a loan from the NHS to help you hear better. Meaning, if you lose or damage your hearing aid, you will be charged to replace it. Some private companies will provide a warranty on their hearing aids so if there was damage to your device, it could be replaced for free. 

Why Going Private May Be Better For You

There is no hiding the fact that buying hearing aids privately will cost more. However, due to the number of people that the NHS serves, you could be waiting for your hearing aids for longer than you would if you bought them privately.

The NHS can place you on a waiting list for as long as 2 years for your initial hearing test and then it could take months or potentially longer for you to receive your devices. With Wholesale Hearing, your hearing aids are delivered and ready to use within 5-7 working days.

Pros Of Getting Hearing Aids On The NHS

  • Your hearing aid will be suitable for your needs
  • Your hearing aid will be free
  • You may not have to pay anything for batteries
  • The NHS still use good models of hearing aids
  • The NHS will offer support

Pros Of Getting Hearing Aids Privately With Wholesale Hearing

  • You have access to top brands and latest models
  • You have more of a choice over which hearing aid you get
  • You will get your hearing aid in less time
  • You will get ongoing support from our team of UK Qualified audiologists
  • You can buy accessories for your device which we can assist with
  • We will provide ongoing aftercare throughout your journey with us

Should I Go Public Or Private?

This is a question that only you can answer as it can depend on your financial situation, the urgency to which you require your hearing aid, what features you may wish that hearing aid to have and others.

Obtaining hearing aids through the NHS may be more cost-effective and you will still get a good hearing aid. However, buying through Wholesale Hearing will give you a wider range of models to choose from including the latest models from each brand, and accessories, and you can get your hearing aids within 7 days.

At Wholesale Hearing, we want to make sure people have the options & information available to make the best decisions on their quality of hearing. The NHS provide an invaluable service however, much like buying glasses, the range of aesthetics, functionality, and availability increases considerably when you are able to go private.

With payment options at Wholesale Hearing including Klarna to allow payments over time, you can choose to go private with more confidence and enjoy the very best hearing solutions available today, with a quick and efficient turnaround.


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