Private hearing aids.

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fausto copy
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Joined: 14 Dec 2008, 6:51pm
Location: Pembrokeshire

Private hearing aids.

Postby fausto copy » 3 Mar 2019, 10:53am

Hi folks, I'm currently on my third set of NHS hearing aids, being upgraded each time over the last 5 years due to my (now) profound deafness.
The ones I'm on are supposed to be the top of the range and are purported to counteract tinnitus as well.

Sadly, they're not proving too effective, as my hearing is deteriorating faster than the NHS can keep up,
I visited my local hospital before Christmas for tubes to be changed etc., and the top guy there said I needed another hearing test and assessment.
You are supposed to get tested every two years, but although I'm not due one he said I needed one ASAP but said there would be a couple of months wait.
My wife rang up the other day to get me booked in for tube changes again and asked if my appointment was imminent.
She was told I'd been on the waiting list for 16 weeks but the current wait was 88 weeks!

I'm getting so desperate now, that I'm considering private aids and was wondering if anyone would recommend any particular manufacturer or supplying agent. Locally, we have Boots, Specsavers and various other providers, but would be grateful if anyone has knowledge or experience with any specifically.

Cheers, fausto.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Mar 2019, 11:49am

Good luck with this.

I think it's always been the case that this is a bit of the NHS that has been underfunded. eg I think the NHS persisted in only offering analogue hearing aids until the point they were virtually unobtainable. I fear that while shelling out to go private may get you quicker attention etc., you may not get any significant improvement in the equipment provided.

I've no recent direct experience, but by coincidence I've had a recent chat with a former colleague who has. He's recently had part of a lung removed and had an operation to try to prevent his aortic aneurism from getting to real danger size. In and among all that, he's recently had some new hearing aids privately dispensed and he's so fed up with them that when we last spoke he had refused to pay for them and was in a stand-off. I don't know who he got them from and I don't suppose it makes much difference, in that there must come a point where hearing aids can only offer very limited improvement.

I only see him if I bump into him on the walk to the newsagents, but I'll try to remember to ask him about it. (Conversations with former colleagues tend to begin with a discussion about who's just died. :( )

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby [XAP]Bob » 3 Mar 2019, 2:53pm

Where are you?

I have private aids - happy to talk about options etc.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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fausto copy
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Location: Pembrokeshire

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby fausto copy » 3 Mar 2019, 3:00pm

Erm...Pembrokeshire; so covered under Hywel Da Health Board.
Up to now I've been fairly happy with the NHS treatment but I get the impression they don't think they can do much more for me and to be honest, I'm not that confident that they really understand these latest digital aids.
We don't have any what I'd call specialist hearing centres, only agencies, which is why I'd like to hear (ha!) some recommendations.
I can't easily talk to you Bob, as phone conversations are nigh on impossible, even with my hearing aid compatible phone.
If you don't want to recommend anything publicly, you could always send me a pm?
fausto.

softlips
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Joined: 12 Dec 2016, 8:51pm

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby softlips » 3 Mar 2019, 6:11pm

Pembrokeshire comes under NHS Wales I guess so very different in my experience.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby Cunobelin » 3 Mar 2019, 8:16pm

I have no interest in the companies involved, but You can get NHS hearing aids through SpecSavers and you are entitled to go to a Ptivate Provider

It will, of course, depend on personal circumstances as well as local policies. However, it could be argued that the NHS has not fulfilled their commitments to treat you in a set time (16 weeks), entitling you to choose another provider. The magic word to use is "Breach"

All this is covered in the NHS England secifications

Vitara
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Joined: 12 Feb 2014, 11:18pm

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby Vitara » 3 Mar 2019, 9:05pm

Browsing Spec savers website shows they offer free hearing tests and offer a wide range of hearing aids at different price points with lots of info about the the different options.

If your hearing loss is effecting your quality of life you may feel it's something worth spending your money on.

However I note you say "I get the impression the NHS feel they have done all they can for me"

There are different types of hearing loss, hearing aids help a lot with some types, less well with others. Whether you use the NHS or go private it might be helpful to get more information about you hearing loss and how much benefit you might get from hearing aids, that wIll help you understand how effective they will be for you and if going private how much you feel it is worth spending.

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fausto copy
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Location: Pembrokeshire

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby fausto copy » 4 Mar 2019, 7:57pm

My hearing problems started off fairly straightforward.
Hearing damaged from prolonged industrial noise.
Initial hearing assessment and provision of NHS was OK until onset of tinnitus on right side (sounds like machinery operating).
Please note, my tinnitus is on my right, not within the ear and on explanation I was given an MRI scan (all clear).
Hearing deteriorated rapidly and an upgraded set of aids provided.
Tinnitus then also on left side (sounds like when you put a shell to your ear as a kid and you thought you could hear the sea).
Hearing progressively worsened, so much that I can't identify any piece of music>
New, supposedly top of the range NHS aids provided approx 2 years ago.
Initially much better at hearing clear speech and now OK on one to one speech, but other than that pretty grim.
I can get an appointment to have the tubes changed approx every 3 months and they always try and tweak the aids a bit as they realise I'm not getting the full benefit.
However, as mentioned, my hearing loss seems to be outpacing what can be offered.

If you've read through all that, thanks for your patience and if you've not...sorry for boring you with my predicament. :roll:

Vitara
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Joined: 12 Feb 2014, 11:18pm

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby Vitara » 6 Mar 2019, 12:15am

FC that’s a very comprehensive background to your problem. Hearing Loss is not my area of expertise, but I have a working knowledge as it’s a common problem amongst the patients I see.
It sounds (excuse the pun) like you have Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Tinnitus is a common feature with this.
There are three main types of hearing loss; Senorineural, Conductive and Mixed. I think Noise Induced Loss comes under Senorineural.
Before considering going down the Private Treatment route it might be worth making sure you have as much information about your condition as possible.
I would consider asking for a GP appointment and asking the following questions:
1. What type of hearing loss do I have?
2. How extensive is it?
3. Is it stable or might it get worse?
4. How much benefit can I expect to get from hearing aids?
If you used e-consult to request an appointment, and included these questions, your GP would know what you wanted to ask before your visit, giving them time to check up the answers.
Taking a second person with you might be helpful with later recollection of what you are told.
Armed with this information you will be much better placed to consider how much energy to invest in pursuing NHS Treatment, or how much you might want to spend on Private Treatment.
You might also be able to get help, advice and support from Action on Hearing Loss (the new name for RNID).
Also on YACF there is a poster under the user name Barakta who offers really good advice on Hearing related issues.

Hope that helps a bit - Good Luck

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fausto copy
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Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby fausto copy » 6 Mar 2019, 2:36pm

Hi Vitara, thanks for your input.
I visited the Audiology department this morning and had a good chat with one of their new practitioners.
One of my aids was distorting and she replaced it OK.
We discussed my overall hearing problems and tinnitus and she explained somewhat better than others what I should expect from my aids and deduced that they need setting up better for the tinnitus problem. She also confirmed that there is indeed an 88 week (at present) waiting list as they've lost two audiology managers and are advertising replacements.

You are correct in assuming I have noise-induced hearing loss, thanks to working for BT for 40 years with equipment above recommended safe levels (and yes, I've had some compensation, which I would invest in private aids once convinced it would be worthwhile.
I doubt very much whether my GP could explain anything more comprehensively but I'll consider it anyway (if I can get in within the next 72 weeks :wink: ).
fausto.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby [XAP]Bob » 8 Mar 2019, 9:43pm

I have had several sets of aids on trial (had £7k worth at home at one point because I was talking to two audiologists...)

All were on sale or return, as demo units from the manufacturer (I.e not putting the audiologist out of pocket).
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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fausto copy
Posts: 2689
Joined: 14 Dec 2008, 6:51pm
Location: Pembrokeshire

Re: Private hearing aids.

Postby fausto copy » 9 Mar 2019, 10:06am

Latest news is that I had an appointment to change the tubes and saw a different audiologist.
After explaining some problems I was having, she tweaked the settings and up to now seem to suit me better.
Sadly, she's not allowed to touch the tinnitus setting, so will have to arrange another appointment for that.
She also confirmed the 88 week wait for a re-test and told me to write and complain.

Only downer was that she gave me the wrong size tubes, so had to revisit to get the correct ones.