FREE Hearing tests - what is the real cost?
Free hearing tests are a brilliant way of raising the profile of hearing loss and the importance of getting regular hearing checks. Regular hearing testing from the age of 55 is extremely important and if you feel a change in your hearing at whatever age; you should really get tested. When considering getting a hearing test, free tests are available from your G.P. (but you may have to wait a while) and many of the large national hearing aid dispensing companies.
If your main aim is just to get a hearing ‘check’ done then any where offering free tests will suffice, as long as the testing is done in a sound proof environment using recommended and calibrated equipment. However, if your aim is to get a quality audiological opinion, you have an unusual hearing loss or you are looking to obtain good hearing aids that actually work then you should really look towards an independent hearing centre or an NHS audiologist. Awareness and promotional campaigns offering free hearing tests are brilliant but we would exercise caution when dealing with companies who offer free hearing testing as ‘general practice ‘.
I found these points on another site and thought they were very important considerations before going for a ‘free’ hearing test:
- Dispensers employed by national companies are incentivised to make hearing aid sales by having largely commission based salaries. Most of their recommendations will be based upon the companies ties to certain manufacturers or sales targets.
- The dispenser you see will be working on a commission and will probably be under pressure to meet sales targets.
- The dispenser will be highly trained in sales techniques, and in some case poorly trained in wider audiology understanding.
- The free hearing test will most likely be used as the basis for a sales pitch, if hearing loss is found you may be pressured into making a purchasing decision.
- Large national companies that operate in this way look at hearing aid fitting purely as a sales job and have the lowest level audiological qualification needed to dispense hearing aids.
- A minimum amount of time will be spent on the clinical evaluation of your hearing and explanations of results. Most of the time will be spent ‘selling’.
- Most companies do not advertise or publish their pricing, is there a reason for their lack of transparency?
- Once attending the free testing they will often run ‘special offers’ if you buy on the day (1/3 off or half price), often these offers are on old hearing aid stock and may not be the best thing for your hearing.
Unfortunately, due to these practices we often see a lot of people who have been mis-sold substandard hearing aids or who have had good hearing aids fitted in a substandard way and are subsequently unfit for purpose. If someone is therefore giving something away for free as a general business practice (not including promotional activity) then you have to question how as a company they will be generating revenue.
To obtain a hearing test or hearing aid information without pressure or obligation call us at Chalfont Hearing Centre 01494 765144.