Nearly half (46%) of Which? members and other adults with a hearing aid that we surveyed in May 2020 told us they had got their hearing aids through the NHS (a hospital or clinic).
So should you follow suit? To help you decide, we’ve compiled the pros and cons of using the NHS, rather than buying privately or using the ‘Any Qualified Provider’ scheme (see below) whereby the NHS pays (in certain parts of the country) for you to go to a private retailer.
You can see the, rated by 1,572 which? members and other adults in our May 2020 survey, and find out the scores in key areas for .
Pros of NHS hearing aids
- NHS hearing aids are free.
- You’ll get free follow-up care, including repairs and replacement batteries. This is important, as any device that is used a lot needs to be maintained and looked after.
- Many hospitals and providers of NHS hearing aids offer drop-in clinics for aftercare, either on site or at a visiting centre closer to you. Some providers may even offer home visits, but they’ll need a letter from your GP first.
- Digital models that can be set to accurately match your hearing loss are now issued as standard on the NHS.
Cons of NHS hearing aids
- You may not get much choice in the type of hearing aid you end up with – it’s likely to be a behind-the-ear model with earmould, or open-fit. Some areas issue receiver-in-the-ear/canal hearing aids too. For more information, see our guide to .
- There may be a charge if you lose a hearing aid – check with the audiologist.
- While in some areas you’ll be seen quite quickly, the wait between your GP referral and treatment may be shorter if you go privately.
- Your local hospital may offer a drop-in clinic for aftercare/repair, but you’ll usually have to wait to be seen.
If you’re planning …….