There are two options when it comes to hearing aid provision in the UK – the NHS and the private market. The NHS fits approximately 80% of all hearing aids in the UK, and many people are satisfied with the free service offered by our national health service.
The NHS provides a basic, one-size-fits-all solution, which is usually digital but a much older technology than what is currently available. The NHS is also increasingly being tasked with cutting costs, so in some areas hospitals will only dispense single (not a pair) of hearing aids, and in some cases, do not elect to dispense aids at all to those with a mild or moderate hearing loss.
In the wake of Covid-19 we have seen a shift in the number of people seeking private hearing aids due to the impact of the pandemic on the NHS. Wait times have increased substantially and the number of face-to-face appointments have significantly reduced.