Try a very cheap hearing aid first!

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
As I mentioned in a previous thread my wife is going deaf. It would be difficult for her to
visit a hearing aid centre and home visits can be up to £50.

The cost of modern aids can be from a few hundred (per ear!!) up to £1000 !

So I bought her a cheap aid off eBay (where else? !) for £15 to try out.
It has a volume control but no on/off switch.

We plugged it into 'er ear 'ole !

WOW. What a difference. Now she doesn't have to keep saying to me,

"Pardon?" "What?" "A?"
£15 well spent methinks. So maybe you can save some money too?

The trouble is she can now hear when I swear at her! :lol:

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Very good idea. I bought Dad some private hearing aids 6 years ago- Ouch at the price. He has an apt for them to be tweaked soon but also getting an NHS assessment and some NHS ones recommended by the SS lady who thought his private ones were a bit useless- as indeed they are-"pardon? "
The other upside to trying cheap hearing aids first is that they can get misplaced or lost and replacing them could be expensive. It is worthwhile checking that when they are not in the person's ears, they are in their box and the box itself is in a safe place.
Good to know about the cheap hearing machine.
Well, there is no real harm in trying, and cheap means not much to lose. But cheap hearing aids will not work well for everyone. If hearing problems continue, your GP could refer the person affected to the hospital audiology department for a proper hearing test and a personalised hearing aid. National Health covers most of this, including replacement batteries.
Denis_1610 wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:05 pm
Well, there is no real harm in trying, and cheap means not much to lose. But cheap hearing aids will not work well for everyone. If hearing problems continue, your GP could refer the person affected to the hospital audiology department for a proper hearing test and a personalised hearing aid. National Health covers most of this, including replacement batteries.
It is a little while since this subject was last aired, but I think I need to revise what I said, retract that first sentence and make a point more strongly.

Unfortunately some of my own hearing problems of old have re-occurred and I have been back to the audiology department. I did admit to having myself experimented with one of these inexpensive hearing boosters.

The audiologist spoke quite disparagingly about them. A proper hearing test checks out the range of frequency response of the ear. It also tests whether any deafness is due either to problems with transmission of sound from the eardrum to the inner ear, or due to innate problems with the cochlea. A proper NHS hearing aid is tailored to the user's needs based on the frequency response.

These cheap aids are simply amplifiers; they take no account of the frequency response of the ear or the cause of deafness. Consequently, when adjusted to the volume level that my appear to improve hearing, they can actually be overloading the ear on frequencies where it responds well, which can cause further damage to the hearing.

A proper test, with hearing aid and batteries is one of the things still free on the NHS so you may as well take advantage of this proper professional diagnosis and solution.
Thats something I'd not considered Denis but your reasoning is sound. (sorry couldn't resist). Like the cheap specs you can buy over the counter, they are useful to have in the car for map reading etc, but they are just magnifying glasses really.
What I like about the private hearing aids is their near invisibility (I'm a vain cow I know) and the nhs ones seem to be very bulky and ugly. My mother said they hurt her ears when she tried to plug them in, and complained that she could hear her own feet on the carpet. She wouldn't wear them.
She lived till 100 even with vascular dementia and the what, pardon, eh?
Yes, Barbara, "in-the-ear" aids do have their good points:
  • They are inconspicuous (and there is nothing wrong about being particular about your appearance).
  • They can be tailored to the user's hearing condition, and I am sure all reputable firms do this.
  • They are possibly better for assessing the direction that sound is coming from.
The downside is:
  • They can be expensive.
  • They are not as powerful as behind-the-ear hearing aids. They are OK for up to moderate deafness, but for more-severe deafness a behind-the-ear aid will work better.
As you say, the NHS does only behind-the-ear hearing aids, but does them well. Ultimately it is down to whether you are willing and able to spend the money.