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NHS Hearing Aids - Free But at What Price?
Date:2/23/2011

PRESTON, England, Feb. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

In the UK we are fortunate enough to have a free provision of hearing aids by way of the NHS. Over the last few years, the NHS has switched from analogue to digital hearing aids for the majority of patients. These hearing instruments are of a reasonable quality and are programmed to match the patients hearing loss.  Fantastic! I hear you say, but there's perhaps a little more to this situation than meets the eye.

In order for a hearing impaired person to achieve the maximum benefit from hearing instruments, there are several bases that need consideration:

Technology

Hearing aid manufacturers are producing fantastic new technology at an amazing rate. Unfortunately this technology takes a long time to reach the hands of the NHS audiologist. This is as a result of the processes involved in getting new hearing instruments made available the NHS. This is in no way a criticism of the NHS. I can appreciate that a huge organization such as the NHS requires time to evoke changes – especially if new technology is emerging thick and fast. New products require training for the audiologist to make the most of the new features. The manufacturers simply would not have the capacity to train an organization the size of the NHS on an on-going basis. The result is the hearing impaired NHS patient cannot receive the best technology available.

Cost

New technology hearing instruments typically carry a higher price tag. Hearing aid manufacturers are not charities and they need to recoup their research and development costs – and make a profit to keep their shareholders at bay.

Cosmetics

Many hearing impaired people put off getting hearing aids as there is still a stigma attached to wearing them. The ultimate motivation for them to do something is when their
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SOURCE Hearingaids.co.uk
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