Just had a Boots audiology appointment

Hi very new to this…
As stated just had an was appointment and it discovered I had mild to moderate loss in both ears, the audiologist said if I didn’t have a aids then my hearing would become worse and I need them now.
My thoughts are…should I go NHS as I am aware that if I need two aids this could be expensive and do Boots have more up to date aids than the NHS?
I have to go back for a more thorough assessment, I’m feeling really down about it.

Your hearing will not become worse if you don’t get hearing aids. Any audiologist suggesting this isn’t doing their job properly. Long term if you need hearing aids and your brain doesn’t get enough stimulus from your auditory system there is a risk that this system will become less efficient.

Boots aren’t the only supplier on the high-street - they ARE however at least 50% owned by Sonova - you were probably quoted a Sonova brand (Unitron/Phonak). You might want to get a second opinion from an independent supplier and preferably a trial.

Most hearing aids purchased on the high street will be later models than the NHS has - and you might be able to get them in smaller/custom versions.

‘Thorough Assessment ?’ Did they not do a hearing test the first time? That sounds like a secondary marketing opportunity for someone who’s wavering over taking the ‘deal’.

The second assessment is more thorough, though I can’t help thinking should I be going through my GP?

You can go through your GP and get referred to your local Audiology - it will take more time but that’s your choice.

They will probably try and convince you by doing some word recognition scoring. If you’ve already been tested and you have a reasonable loss, it’s only there to reinforce their argument.

Like said, get a second opinion before doing anything else.

I got NHS aids from Specsavers. I waited about two weeks for the appointment, they said I needed two aids and gave me them to me on the spot.
Sorry to hear your feeling really down about it. The good thing with my appointment was it gave me no time to think about it. I walked out wearing hearing aids and was immediately impressed with my improved hearing.
A some stage I’ll probably try private aids, but I’m glad I got NHS aids first.

Thank you, I might try specsavers!

Although my area doesn’t come under the free NHS ones :frowning:

Well there are so may points there to mention. Umbongo is correct in as much as Boots have a tie in with Sonova and yes you will have been offered one of their brands. Then again if you go to Specsavers you will also be offered a brand that they have a deal with (currently Signia which used to be siemens ) You will find this system is rife among all high street retailers (Hidden Hearing ,Amplifon etc) and so I would suggest you go to an independent supplier who will supply you a hearing aid which is better for your hearing loss and not one that they happen to have on the shelf. I could argue the finer points about hearing getting worse all day etc but more importantly it’s not going to get better. Get a second opinion and/or try the NHS. The aids they (NHS) supply are not bad , they are only older technology . They are free of course but as any audiologist will tell you it’s not the fitting or the “first fit” of a hearing aid that makes the difference it’s the continued care and the four or five appointments that are actually needed to get you to a place where you are getting the absolute best from the appliance. Most independents will insist on follow ups where adjustments will be made. The NHS don’t have time for this so a “first fit” is all that it performed. When you use the AQP provision in some trust areas you are getting an NHS aid dispensed by Specsavers or Boots with IMHO even less regard for the patient as these companies use the AQP system to build databases of potential clients in the future. They do not make money from this so remember that when you are there they are losing money and so I would be inclined to suggest they might not be as thorough as they could be.

I went the NHS any qualified provider route at Specsavers and had several follow up visits. They didn’t invite me to go back but they made it clear that I could book follow up visits and I did. I’m sure I’ll be on a database but they never suggested I buy anything off them privately and they have never contacted me at all except to confirm appointments.

Hi Pat , thats good to know though you are most certainly part of the big green machine now! The main point is that they are not allowed to “upgrade” you for two years , after this …
I’m not against them but I know what its like to work for them and I know whats needed and expected in the way of sales. In my (possibly blinkered) opinion the independent wins over the multi nationals every time. I recently looked at one of the big retailers marketing which contained the message “if you receive better value elsewhere we will refund twice the difference” Who makes the judgement on value? I retail the exact same product often up to 35% less but these companies yet their marketing is so powerful that people flock there. They (the nationals) re- brand bulk purchased aids with their own names and lock the software so no one else can adjust it. I can’t buy the same product because its “white labeled” Its very clever. What would be a great idea is if the NHS stopped locking their aids and allowed people to either self adjust or at least for professionals to re-programme. I would be able to help a lot more people if they did.
I would love to know how many people on this forum who purchased from Boots came away with anything other than a Sonova (Phonak/Unitron) product or from Specsavers and got away with anything other than an advance or Signa

LIke you I felt down about the whole process.

I started with NHS aids, which were fine but a bit obtrusive for me. I have no complaints at all about quality or fitting or care from the NHS.

I then went to an independent audiologist in Harley Street, who was excellent but very expensive. I took her recommendation (Widex) to Boots who were much cheaper. I have had good aftercare from Boots, and am now very happy with my new, more expensive, HAs.

Overall I am very pleased that I started with the NHS ones. Getting used to them over several months gave me a much greater understanding of what HAs could and could not do; what was comfortable for me and what I disliked; and altogether made me a much more informed consumer when it came to actually spending my own ready money on HAs.

Go the NHS route before you part with your cash.
My Audiology dept at Epping, Essex is excellent. I am profoundly deaf and recently got 3 pairs of new aids in about 18months. Currently have Oticon Dynamo+ which are also available commercially so NHS is not always out of date. I get follow up appointments whenever I want them. Private aids are NOT going to be any better for me. They might have more controls but when you get used to your aids you probably won’t be bothered constantly changing settings to suit the environment. 2 or 3 pre-set programs on your NHS aids will work fine.
Also look into streamers for listening to TV and phone. They can be life changing!

1 Like

Hi Robert, can you tell me why private aids won’t work for you? I’m interested based on the fact that more often than not NHS aids are behind in tech level and the fact that you don’t get the full range of “world products” on the NHS. Each trust will tender for supply and then the offering based on that tender. I have found that customers of ours will vary greatly depending on what side of the water they live in (different ENT catchment areas). My argument is always on the time aspect. Many people on this forum are looking for self programming which they realise can take a long long time to get satisfaction. The NHS don’t really have the time so a “First fit” or there about will often be deemed as a happy patient. It takes five or six adjustment sessions before you really start to get into real fittings. The difference between a good fit and an excellent one. This of course does not take into Real Ear Measurement which is what should be done on every fitting and yet seldom if ever offered. Every fitting is done on the assumption that your ear canal is 2cc. The logarithms are all tailored this way. So your fitting would theoretically be as perfect as it could be IF your ear canals were BOTH 2cc. It’s a funny old game this!

Seriously? 2CC couplers are only used for comparative measures. They aren’t recognised as ‘real’ by any part of the hearing aid industry. Go and have a look at your text books again. The Zwislocki and 0.707 couplers have been used for years and their dervatives give the idealised fittings. No fittings are done on a 2cc standard ear.

Many devices now self-calibrate and/or include in-situ audiograms so the assertion is even less valid.

Umbongo- You are of course right, the point I’m making is that real ear measurement is worth while. I don’t want to come over as extremely pompous. If you want to be pedantic this probably isn’t the platform.
“many devices…” sums it up. Lets ignore the ones that don’t? Do we ignore reports that confirm only 14% of sound booths comply with legislation or the recent report on cups over inserts etc etc. In your own on-line You Tube video with a walk through of the high street shop you personally highlight the “latest In Ear Measurement techniques” which makes me wonder why if it’s not important?
I am of the belief that people really should be self fitting and moving away from private dispensers. There seems little point in paying thousands of pounds when the ability to self test and self tune is readily available. Really what the manufacturers should be selling is hearing aid units with programmers and a walk through instruction manual. Who knows how things actually hear other than the person wearing them. A quick trip to Specsavers or Boots for any issues and a fifty quid bill would suit most if not all. I think the arguments against this are pretty well all from private dispensers used to charging vast amounts of markup.

If your rich and are quite happy to part with thousands of pounds every few years for what CAN ONLY BE marginal improvements then go the private route by all means. My hearing is progressively deteriorating. I get custom made moulds whenever I need them and regular assessments. Adjustment are made whenever I request them. I have had upgraded aids every 2-3 years and the current ones are NOT NHS specific. I qualify for implants which the NHS WILL fit when I decide that aids alone are inadequate.
Boots, Specsavers etc could not give me better service than my local audiology dept.

Seriously? You made an inherently flawed claim and I called you out on it.

Then you drop in some straw-men about sound booths and headphones while trying to engender favour by making out you’re up for some low cost self programming.

My preference for verified fittings lies in the belief that you should do the best possible for each client.

Knocking out poor fits at £50 pop is an anathema to me. Some clients are capable of engaging with self programming and adjustment. Many struggle to use a basic remote.

Call that pedantic if you like, I call it service.

No you tried to appear as the technical guru with a detailed point. You were correct in this technical point and I agreed with you.
Are you wanting something more? I believe REM and even tymptnometrry are both important.
Now you are rambling saying I’m trying to curry favour? It’s bizarre. Who with?
Cant you do a fit in one hour?
How long does it take to press “first fit”?

The opinion I stated was just that. My opinion.

If you think your “service” is worth £1.5 to £2k markup in price then I’m afraid I disagree with you.
Allowing the consumer to self programme and then pay any additional £50 specialist fee is the way the industry is heading and rightly for all the reasons given IMHO. Of course this is where you can charge for your Real Ear Measurement using the latest techniques if you like , though admittedly you claim it’s irrelevant now. So what is it you do that’s worth this mass markup ?

The old “service” line eh… You go ahead and press that “first fit” button.
Takes how long?
How much do you think you are worth an hour?
Maybe four or five visits to get a really good result for your client - £250 max.
Top of range - retail at £1500 per pair all in. As many visits as you need and all service included.
Or aids £1200 per pair plus Fitting kit programmer and cables - £300 to £500 max .
£50 an hour is a darn good wage.
You don’t think that’s fair?

It’s an opinion not a personal attack.
Though possibly you can’t see that even with your head torch, I will assume it’s very dark way down there in the middle of the Congo…

Again, you were called out about making a factually inaccurate claim.

As for the technical guru moniker, that’s your choice of words, not mine. As is the last pointless ad-hominem. Although this is a new forum, my record on the old forum stands for itself.

What is the real figure, £50 or £500? Does that apply to a client walking through the door or one that lives 30miles away and is housebound?
It cost the NHS over £500 - plus the aid, per patient journey in 2000 ( again Fact: West Dorset NHS trust) and unless I’m mistaken that would probably not be cheaper today.

If you can put a practice on the high street, staff it, advertise it, and pay the electric bill for £500 a pop, then I take my head-torch off to you and eagerly await your chain of discount hearing centres taking over the UK.

Even Costco are leveraging up their ASP, do you think that you are going to outdo a Big-Box store with a minimal ‘sheep-dip’ customer provision?