Updated: Oct 23
The provision of free NHS hearing aids in the UK is good, but comes short for many. Read through this article to learn about your options on how to upgrade your NHS hearing aids.
It is a pity that a nationwide health program works on a lottery postcode for the type, quality and technology of the hearing aids that a patient receives. Where I operate in London, most of the free NHS hearing aids provided to the patients are bulky, battery-powered, and do not support Bluetooth and streaming. Also, the AQP (any qualified provider) providers of free NHS hearing aids do not provide custom-made, invisible, in-the-ear style hearing aids.
In other developed EU countries such as Germany and Netherlands the NHS provides a voucher of 400 to 750 Euro (based on the country) to the patient and the patient is able to use the voucher against his or her choice of hearing aids. That flexibility allows the patient to purchase the model and style that he or she desires and works best with his or her lifestyle. In the UK the free NHS hearing aids are one size fits all, in a very unequal geographical distribution.
The free NHS hearing aids provided in the UK sound OK, but not awesome, especially in understanding speech in noisy environments. The program does not offer premium hearing aids to the patients. Some patients end up purchasing a pair of premium hearing aids in addition to the free NHS ones and keep the NHS pair as a backup. It is sad to see that millions of taxpayers' money end up in drawers.
For those who wish to try premium hearing aids for the first time we have created a collection called NHS+ hearing aids.
This collection is a hand-picked selection of the best brands and technologies that an entry budget can buy in the UK. Hearing aids in our NHS+ hearing aids collection are:
Better sound quality compared to NHS hearing aids
Better speech understanding in noise
Rechargeable or battery-powered
Invisible hearing aids (IIC and CIC)
Custom-made rechargeable hearing aids
Bluetooth ready for music and TV streaming
Remote adjusting and programming
5-years UK warranty and aftercare
In-clinic and home visit test and fitting (in London)
We will go through some of our NHS+hearing aids in the following.
Resound Key-4 is our top pick in the NHS+ hearing aids collection for those looking for a pair of rechargeable and Bluetooth-enabled RIC hearing aids at the lowest price. I have prescribed and fitted this hearing aid for several seniors and elderly patients as well as younger and mid-age customers. It is definitely a good option if you are keen to improve the sound quality of your NHS hearing aids as almost all of the patients I fitted this hearing aid confirmed that the sound quality has improved. The ability to stream a TV soundtrack is a big winner for the elderly who watch TV as their first choice of home entertainment.
The price of a pair of Resound Key-4 is below £1,000 which is amazing. Patients can enjoy remote hearing care meaning your audiologist will be able to adjust and reprogram your Resound Key-4 remotely. An excellent feature for housebound patients, or those pensioners travelling outside the UK a lot.
Highlights of Resonund Key-4 RIC hearing aids are:
Lowest price receiver in canal hearing aids
The price includes a desktop charger