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  • Writer's pictureKoorosh Nejad

Rechargeable, Bluetooth and invisible NHS+ hearing aids!

Updated: Apr 3

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 to invisible and Bluetooth-enabled affordable 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 can 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.


upgrade your free NHS hearing aids through HearingNow


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:


  • Budget-friendly

  • 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 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.



lowest price for rechargeable streaming bluetooth ric hearing aids on hearingnow


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

  • Rechargeable RIC

  • The price includes a desktop charger

  • Resound's essential sound technology

  • Bluetooth and streaming (ITE and ITC)

  • Better sound quality than NHS hearing aids

  • Suitable for mild to severe hearing loss

  • 5-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare (ITC/ITE)

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)




It is very rare that any NHS hospital or any AQP (any qualified NHS provider) offers the patient custom-made hearing aids. Therefore it is very desirable for patients who look beyond NHS hearing aids to try premium in-the-ear hearing aids yet invisible hearing aids.

Our choice of in-the-ear hearing aids in our NHS+ hearing aids collection is Oticon Own.


Oticon Own can be purchased at 5 technology levels. Obviously, the higher tech levels (1 and 2) provide much better speech understanding in the presence of noise, but if you are in the market for a pair of premium custom-made hearing aids at the lowest price then Oticon Own 5 is for you.



upgrade your free NHS hearing aids through HearingNOw


The size of your ear canals may allow you to go for an invisible pair of Oticon Own 5. The IIC and CIC versions (invisible in the canal, and complete in the canal) come only in battery-powered style (battery size 10). The in-the-canal (ITC) and in-the-ear (ITE) versions use battery sizes 312, is Bluetooth enabled and can handle TV streaming (a TV streaming unit is required). The Bluetooth feature enables remote support and programming which is a perfect feature for housebound patients.


Highlights of Oticon Own 5 hearing aids are:

  • Custom-made for your ears

  • Price includes ear impressions

  • Oticon's latest sound technology

  • Comes in invisible IIC/CIC (battery 10)

  • Also in ITC or ITE (battery 312)

  • Bluetooth and streaming (ITE and ITC)

  • Superior Oticon sound quality

  • Suitable for moderate to profound hearing loss

  • 5-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare (ITC/ITE)

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)




Rexton is Signia's twin sister (learn more here). The technology used in Rexton hearing aids is the same as Signia. The only difference is that Rexton's line of products are positioned for budget consumers. This makes the Rexton BiCore R-Li 40 a great choice for those looking to upgrade their NHS hearing aids to a premium-level rechargeable and Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid. The product is manufactured by WSA, the parent company of Widex, Signia and Rextor hearing aids in their manufacturing lines in Denmark and Germany. If you have a little bit of room in your budget I'd definitely suggest considering the middle-level technology of Rexton Bi-Core R-Li 60 which is more feature-rich and definitely a better option for understanding speech in a noisy environment like coffee shops and restaurants. Click this link to learn more about Signia Augmented Xperience technology level differences.



Rexton BiCore rechargeable RIC as NHS plus hearing aid by hearingnow


Rexton BiCore R-Li 40 can stream TV sound and phone calls straight into your ears. The battery-powered Rexton BiCore hearing aids are slightly cheaper as you save on the cost of the charger unit, but good to mention that the portable charger unit is much cooler and actually has a power pack inside that allows you to do charging on the go.


The highlights of Rexton BiCore R-Li 40 hearing aids are:

  • Signia Augmented Xperience (AX) technology

  • Rechargeable RIC

  • The price includes a desktop charger

  • Bluetooth and TV streaming

  • Superior sound quality than NHS hearing aids

  • Suitable for mild to severe hearing loss

  • 5-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare (ITC/ITE)

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)





Starkey Evolv Ai 1200 hearing aid is a key member in our NHS+ hearing aids collection. Starkey is one of the leading hearing aids manufacturers of custom hearing aids. Their CIC invisible hearing aid is now Bluetooth enabled which puts Starkey as the only manufacturer of CIC hearing aids with Bluetooth and streaming capability in the market (summer 2023). Again, most of the NHS centres in the UK do not offer invisible hearing aids or custom-made in-the-ear hearing aids, hence Starkey Evolve Ai custom hearing aids would be a great option if you wish to upgrade your free NHS hearing aids. They are suitable for patients with moderate to profound hearing loss.


Meet the Starkey Evolv Ai family below.



starkey evolv ai hearing aids on sale on hearingnow

Starkey Evolv Ai custom hearing aids can be battery-powered or rechargeable. The rechargeable version comes with a desktop or a power-pack carrying charger unit. See below.

starkey ITE and ITC in the ear invisible hearing aids upgrade NHS on hearingnow

Our recommendation for an entry-level with Starkey Evolv Ai custom hearing aids is its 1600 tech level mainly because some of the cool features such as noise reduction, Edge mode and speech optimization start from level 1600 and higher, however, level 1200 can be a fair entry point if you are on a tight budget. You can see a comparison of Starkey Evolv Ai tech levels below.


Starkey Evolv ai hearing aids technology explained on hearingnow nhs hearing aids

Here is a list of Starkey Evolv Ai 1200 highlights:

  • Starkey's latest sound processing technology

  • Invisible IIC and CIC as well as rechargeable ITE/ITC

  • The price includes a desktop charger

  • Bluetooth, and TV streaming (ITE/ITC)

  • Handsfree conversation over the phone

  • Superior sound quality than NHS hearing aids

  • Telecoil (ITE)

  • Suitable for moderate to profound hearing loss

  • 5-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare (ITC/ITE)

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)

  • See Starkey full catalogue here




Oticon Zircon 2R - $1,797.75 /pair

  • Oticon technology

  • Rechargeable

  • The price includes a desktop charger

  • Bluetooth and TV streaming

  • Superior sound quality than NHS hearing aids

  • 5-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)

  • See Oticon full catalogue here




Signia Active ITE could tick all your needs and wishes for a pair of hearing aids that sound much better than your NHS hearing aids, are Bluetooth enabled, do hands-free phone calls, do TV streaming and can be adjusted and programmed remotely. Signia Active even comes with a charger unit that is power-packed meaning you can charge your hearing aids as you go. It is designed to look similar to music earbuds. It sits in your concha bowl and makes a good choice for active people wearing them during exercises, running and group physical activities.


Signia Active is popular among people with professionals who need to wear masks such as nurses and healthcare professionals.



signia active hearing aids earbud design nhs on hearingnow


Learn more about Signia Active on the Signia website.


The highlights of Signia Active are:

  • Signia Xperience technology

  • Rechargeable

  • The price includes the charger unit

  • Bluetooth and TV streaming

  • Superior sound quality than NHS hearing aids

  • Suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss

  • 2-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)

  • See Signia full catalogue here




In order to complete our NHS+ collection we added Oticon Xceed 3 hearing aids. Oticon is famous for having the most powerful hearing aids designed under the Xceed line of hearing aids. They come in super-power (SP) and ultra-power (UP). The UP is slightly bigger. Both designs are behind-the-ear (BTE) and the patient needs earmoulds in the ear to connect to them. Oticon Xceed is Bluetooth enabled and hence can handle hands-free call and TV streaming which makes it an excellent choice for seniors and the elderly who watch TV as their prime home entertainment activity.



Oticon xceed 3 hearing aids for severe to profound hearing loss on sale on hearingnow


The highlights of Oticon Xceed 3 hearing aids are:

  • Oticon technology

  • Suitable for severe to profound hearing loss

  • Battery powered

  • Bluetooth and TV streaming

  • Superior sound quality than NHS hearing aids

  • Suitable for severe to profound hearing loss

  • 5-year warranty and aftercare

  • Remote adjustment and telecare

  • Fitting in-clinic or at your home (London)

  • See Oticon full catalogue here





Conclusion

Life is short, so we need to live it to the fullest we can. If you are not happy with your free NHS hearing aids there are always options. Contact us for a free consultation.


Remember we do free hearing tests and hearing aid consultations. We do free home visits when you purchase a pair of hearing aids with us (only in London).


If you have inherited a pair of premium hearing aids and wondering for help with your second-hand hearing aids, please contact us or check this article.



Update

Rexton released its rechargeable invisible Rexton Reach inoX CIC in April 2024. The hearing aid is the smallest rechargeable CIC and takes advantage of the same IX platform as Signia SILK IX CIC. Rexton Reach inoX CIC comes with a portable portable charger and when fully charged can run 24 to 29 hours without the need for a recharge. It can connect to the Rexton App for adjusting the volume, setting programs and receiving remote telecare updates. Rexton Reach inoX CIC comes in 3 technology levels, 80, 60 and 40. The product is the choice of hearing aid for people with mild to moderate hearing loss who want a pair of rechargeable and discrete hearing aids. Rexton Reach inoX CIC has received a lot of interest from those who are in search of an affordable replacement for their NHS hearing aids.







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