Whether you’re experiencing hearing loss or have simply decided to start taking better care of your hearing, you may be left wondering “are private audiologists really worth it?”
In the UK, we’re fortunate enough to have the NHS take care of our health when we need it, but is this the best choice when it comes to hearing health? It’s a common question amongst those torn between paying for their hearing aids, or not.
In this blog, we will explore the differences between audiologists in both private and public sectors, the latter of which can be divided into two: independent audiologists and large high street chains.
Find out below the advantages of taking your hearing care private, and how this can benefit you in the long run.
Availability of appointments
Undoubtedly one of the key reasons why people choose private healthcare is the speed at which appointments can be accessed.
Hearing test appointments with a private audiologist are typically readily available, in comparison to the long waiting lists that can come with the NHS. When booking in with a private audiologist, you’re likely to be seen within the week – or at least the month.
As your hearing health can quickly decline over time, it’s important that any issues are addressed as soon as possible to prevent any further issues. This quick response time is something that you’re far more likely to receive from a private, independent audiologist.
A personalised approach
As with many things in life, you get what you pay for. When visiting a private audiologist, you’re paying for a higher standard of care, with a personalised service that’s tailored to you and your individual needs.
Private audiologists understand that there’s no one size fits all approach to hearing care, and they will take the time to understand a little bit more about you, and what you need from your hearing aids.
With independent audiologists, allocated appointment times are typically longer and unhurried in comparison to those in the NHS or large chains. This is so that the audiologist can get to know your requirements and you can ask any questions or raise any concerns that you may have.
Having this personalised approach to appointments delivers better results, as you can be assured that your treatment plan is fully tailored to you as an individual.
Superior medical equipment
For independent practices, of course, audiology is their speciality and their livelihood – they don’t offer a whole range of varying health services. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to be equipped with the latest, most superior equipment and techniques in hearing tests, earwax removal and other related services.
Compare this to the likes of the NHS and larger chains that have a host of other services to offer, and their audiology tools & equipment will be of standard quality, and often outdated.
With higher spec equipment, private audiologists can offer a greater standard of services including testing and diagnosis, with more accurate results on your current ear health so that they can devise the perfect treatment solution.
Access to the latest hearing aid technology
Independent audiologists have access to the latest and most advanced hearing aid technology, and are often kept up to date directly by the manufacturers themselves.
This advantage is passed directly over to you as the patient, as you’ll have access to the leading hearing aid technology on the market which can offer you far greater benefits to enhance your hearing.
The hearing aids you can expect to receive from the NHS are typically fitted with older technology and minimal standard features, lacking in additional assistance and connectivity tools which allow you to customise your device and truly get the most out of it.
New hearing aid technology is continuously evolving and updating, with more features than ever. The innovative technology behind them allows for convenient Bluetooth technology, device streaming, enhanced speech understanding and much more.
More hearing aid choices
When opting for treatment with a private audiologist, it’s not only the quality of the hearing aids that increases but also the quantity of choices you have.
Independent audiologists, like ourselves, aren’t affiliated with any one hearing aid manufacturer. This means that they have access to a broader range of hearing aids from best-in-class manufacturers, with a choice of hundreds of devices. They also have the advantage of being able to access exclusive, world-firsts in hearing aids to provide you with the best.
All of these options mean that the audiologist can pick out the device that’s perfectly suited to you and your lifestyle, through completely unbiased opinions and recommendations.
Hearing aids provided by both the NHS and large chains typically come with much less choice, as they are restricted to a small number of manufacturers which means they have no choice but to recommend certain devices – even if there’s one that’s better suited to you from a different manufacturer.
The service provided by private independent audiologists is unrivalled by the NHS and large, high street chains.
Private audiologists offer unlimited, immediate aftercare so you can be sure that you’re in safe hands whenever you need it. Regular checkups and hearing aid consultations/fittings all come with the package, and we’re here to answer any questions or concerns about your hearing or device.
Long wait times can be expected with NHS follow-up appointments, and larger chains are likely to have limited aftercare availability with strictly timed appointments to allow them to see the next patient quickly and efficiently.
Choosing a private audiologist
Your hearing health is just as important as any other aspect of your physical and mental wellbeing, so it’s important to choose an audiology provider that you trust to take good care of you.
When choosing an audiologist, always do your research. Be wary of those pushing solely the product, and offering extremely cheap prices. You want to look for an audiologist who puts the time and energy into learning about you and understanding your hearing needs.
Take the time to find an audiologist that’s professional, qualified, and convenient for you to visit. After all, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible service that will help to enhance your hearing and quality of life.
The Hearing Specialist is a private independent audiologist, with clinics based around South London in Wimbledon, Wallington and Teddington. We offer thorough hearing tests, professional ear wax removal and hearing aid fittings with 7-day free trials to help you find the perfect device for you.
To find out more, please get in touch with us or book an appointment online at any one of our clinics.