Private hearing aids vs NHS: What’s the difference?

Earlier on in the year, we wrote an article about why you should visit a private audiologist. Within this blog, we provided many advantages you can receive compared to the NHS, and today we will follow up on this.

Our main talking point today will be the difference between private hearing aids versus the NHS. This is a common question asked by a number of our patients, and we’re eager to provide you with new insight.

Hearing aid technology

The technological advancements of hearing aids in the last few years have jumped boundaries nobody in the audiology industry could have dreamt of. Manufacturers such as Signia, Widex and Bernafon, have produced high-quality hearing aids which question our understanding of hearing aid technology. There is no sign of them stopping, as they’re constantly looking to improve their product so it can give people the best opportunity to hear better.

A great advantage of acquiring your hearing aids from a private audiologist is you will have access to choose a product from many different manufacturers. A specialist will provide you with great insight into each hearing aid and decide with you which product will be most suited to your hearing problem. There’s plenty for you to choose from, and this is one of many benefits a private audiologist can offer to you. 

At The Hearing Specialist, we have an extensive stock of premium hearing aids to suit all different lifestyles and budgets. Our hearing aid range features some of the biggest names in hearing including Bernafon, Widex and Signia. We offer Interest-Free Credit on all models, so you can spread the cost over 12 months.

We can’t recommend the Bernafon Alpha Hearing Aid enough, as it’s packed with the most modern hearing aid features and technology. The Bernafon Alpha hearing aid range provides incredible results for your hearing loss, with a big focus on a better understanding of conversations and clearer sounds. If this appeals to you, get in touch with us today. 

Sadly, if you get your hearing aids from the NHS you will be limited in what device you can have, and this is because they will not have access to the latest products. NHS hearing aids typically have the most basic technology, but if you aren’t happy with the hearing aids they’re offering, they will recommend you to a private audiologist. Whilst this may appear great, it does come with a cost. A private audiologist, as well as any other form of private health care, can be costly, so before you decide on where you would like to grab your hearing aids from, carry on reading this article for more information. 

Signia AX Hearing Aids

Hearing aid styles

A big advantage a private audiologist offers compared to the NHS is the ability to accommodate different hearing aid styles. You can decide what colour and design the hearing aid is, after the audiologist has conducted a thorough hearing test. Once the test is complete, they will suggest which style of hearing aid will be most beneficial for you.

There is a range of styles for you to choose from, all of which carry their own benefits and disadvantages. The four styles on offer are: behind the ear (BTE), In the ear (ITE), receiver in the canal (RIC), completely in the canal & invisible in the canal (CIIC & IIC). Your audiologist will provide you with all the information for each hearing aid, and they will help you choose the right style that fits within your budget and parameter. 

For people who are nervous about having to wear a hearing aid, there are designs that will help make them more discreet. This will help limit any stress or anxiety you have about wearing them. Private hearing aids can be almost invisible, whereas the NHS provides very basic products which aren’t discreet. 

Bernafon Alpha hearing aids

Personal experience

Next on our difference list, your personal experience visiting a private audiologist or the NHS is crucial as it determines your ultimate outcome. If you visit a private audiologist about your hearing, you will get a personalised service that’s tailored to you and your individual needs. It may cost more than the NHS, but without a doubt, you will get your money’s worth. The audiologist will take the time to understand a little bit more about you, and what you need from your hearing aids.

Also, you gain the advantage of not being restricted to a certain appointment time, so the audiologist can get to know you better without worrying about their next customer arriving. During your appointment, you will have more opportunities to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have about your hearing aids. Furthermore, you won’t have to wait long to receive your hearing aids too. Once you’ve decided on the pair you and your audiologist are happy with, you can wear them straight away.

On the other hand, you can receive a good personal experience with the NHS as a doctor will still provide you with a good assessment of your hearing health. But you lose extra time with them as they’re rushed off their feet with other patients. Your hearing health is a key component of your life, and it’s vital it has all the time and care put towards it. 


Right, let’s clear the elephant in the room – how much are private hearing aids compared to the NHS? Well, there is a big gap in valuation as private audiologists can vary substantially in price depending on the model, whereas the NHS offers patients hearing aids for free. But why is this?

So, big brands such as Signia set their prices based on the quality, research and design gone into making the hearing aid. Researching and development cost much higher you may imagine, but it’s going to a great cause as these expensive hearing aids can last many years and provide you with excellent hearing. Despite the cost remaining high, you are without question receiving excellent value for money, as once you have your new hearing aids, the care doesn’t stop there.

You will receive ongoing support and aftercare from an independent audiologist, which the NHS can’t replicate to the same effect. However, acquiring your hearing aids from the NHS isn’t a bad idea, as you will be given good quality care. There’s a good chance they will be free, which saves you a lot of money, especially in the current financial crisis. But overall, it’s a fact you get what you pay for, and with private hearing aids – you’re essentially buying a new pair of ears. 

So, what do you think? Are private hearing aids worth it compared to the NHS? You know what our answer will be. But what will yours be? Let us know by getting in touch today.