Currently in the UK there are two options for hearing aid provision – the NHS and private market. Approximately 80% of hearing aids fitted in the UK, are fitted by the NHS. Some patients are satisfied with the ‘free at the point of service system’ offered by our wonderful UK hospitals.
The COVID 19 pandemic has, however, meant that waiting times in the NHS have substantially increased, and hospitals are looking to reduce the number of face-to-face consultations.
Additionally, a significant proportion of this population have individual requirements that unfortunately cannot be met by NHS hearing aid departments.
With increasing demand for cost saving within the NHS many hospitals are opting to dispense only single (and not two) hearing aids and in some cases electing to not dispense hearing aids to patients with mild or moderate hearing loss.
If you are offered an NHS hearing aid, whilst it will be digital, it will likely be an older design, and you will have little, if any, choice in the aid.