Thousands of older people are hard of hearing. In fact one in every six people has a hearing loss. Yet only 20% who could benefit from the use of a hearing aid, have one. Significantly, “one” is the operative word, because if you do manage to get NHS help, ONE is all you get from most Health Authorities !
Age UK do a range of aids, the cheapest of which is £995 for one. It is OK as long as you don’t want to talk to anybody. For talking to people you need to buy a more expensive version which can cost upwards of £1500. For that you can probably hear a pin drop at 500 yards. But still only with one ear. To hear it in stereo you will need two hearing aids at presumably twice the price.
Hearing is not cheap these days, nor apparently is it considered much of a health problem. It is one of the first things Health Authorities are cutting in the name of austerity. You wait ages for an appointment to see an audiologist and then if you only have “moderate” hearing loss you are not likely to get any help at all.
NICE, the laughingly named National Institute for Clinical Exclusions, has declared that most Authorities are providing a poor service. They have noticed that people have two ears and have recommended they are given two hearing aids. We pay money for this excellent advice, which of course won’t be taken notice of.
Your alternative is to go “private”. Here you can get tested, pestered and pushed into spending the last of your pension on an all singing, all dancing pair of hearing aids. And it will only cost you an arm and a leg —- let’s say £2-3,000. For that you should be able to hear messages from distant galaxies, although Age UK only promise they will work at “the most demanding of cocktail parties”.
The NHS is still ‘free at the point of delivery’, but not if they don’t deliver, and especially not if you are elderly.