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View Full Version : Will the nhs allow me to change my hearing aids?



salsarla
03-13-2010, 02:08 PM
Basically i got a pair of oticon spirit 3 open fits a few months ago but i cant get myself to wear them, the tube part isnt that bad its just the back part thats a little big and maybe too visible. After doing some research i found out that the nhs do supply mini bte hearing aids, would i be able to take mine back and maybe get smaller ones? even if the hospital i went to doesnt have them then would i be able to go to a different hospital?

RoseRodent
03-13-2010, 03:23 PM
The NHS also supplies a Spirit Zest, and since your hospital dispenses the Spirit 3 they would also dispense a Spirit Zest. The Zest is just the same appearance as the 3, just smaller. The bad news is that it may not fit your hearing loss, in which case you cannot have a mini BTE on the NHS.

Personally I find Oticon's designs chunky, it's just the way they put the aids together. If you live in England you are theoretically entitled to go to any hospital of your choice, but you'd have to phone around and find one which will dispense other aids. Bear in mind that all follow-up and repairs will also be done at the other hospital, so if it's miles away that might affect your decision. The other NHS mini BTE is the Siemens Reflex L.
https://my.supplychain.nhs.uk/catalogue/product/ghb301/hearing-aid-mini-bte-digital-moderate-power-beige-reflex-l
You have to balance visuals against function, the Reflex L has no program button, no Telecoil and no volume control. Of course a hearing aid which does something is better than the one you keep in a drawer, and you may not feel the need of those functions.

I'd say start by calling your current audiology to find out if you are within the fitting range for a smaller instrument, cos if you aren't there is no point travelling potentially 60 miles to be told that.

Also bear in mind that the NHS catalogue is due to change in August, so if you aren't in the fitting range for the smaller BTEs at the moment, keep an eye on the changes by searching under "NHS Supply Chain" in a search engine. They may have Receiver in the Ear models on the next rotation, which would make smaller styles available for bigger hearing losses.

Oh, and I would advise that you want to change the hearing aid because its size is uncomfortable rather than for its visual appeal. You will win more friends that way with the NHS. ;)

salsarla
03-14-2010, 10:35 AM
Yea i think i would be fine with mini bte's because i had a test at boots a couple of days ago and i was told that i would be suitalbe for mini open fit hearing aids. I just dont understand why the hospital never mentioned the zest hearing aids to me at the time?

So which would you say is better in terms of looks and size, the siemens reflex or the oticon spirit zest? i dont really understand the volumetric information on that link, is that for the actual size of the hearing aid?

I think my best bet is to ring my local hospital and say that i want to return my current hearing aids because they are not so comfortable and if that doesnt work i can try ringing other hospitals as well.

RoseRodent
03-14-2010, 01:09 PM
Oh, the volume info is rubbish, my hearing aid comes out about 15 feet long! It's hard to get an idea of the sizes of things if they are not pictured on a person's ear! You can get some idea looking at the picture, though, as the length of the tube is the theoretical distance into the ear canal. If you look at your current model you will probably find the tube comes only about 2/3way down the hearing aid and the Reflex L the tube should be longer than the aid itself. They are probably about an inch long, so the 2.6cm sounds about right. The Zest says it is 3cm long (but then so does the Spirit 3!), so a bit bigger, and in any case I just think they look a bit more square where the Siemens are rounded. I have never seen a Zest in person so can't really compare it, perhaps it's just the version of the Spirit 3 in the pictures which has no volume and program button on it, in which case it's not a lot smaller! I only say it's a mini because it appears in the NHS catalogue under mini-BTE. (These are the only 2 models which do)

Sometimes you can be suitable for a high-end mini-BTE but not suitable for the NHS version, as they need better software to get the power into the small frame and manage feedback problems, etc. They may also have been not entirely distinct between mini-BTE and receiver in the ear, as they expect people not to be sure of the difference. There is a bigger fitting range for RITE aids.

salsarla
03-15-2010, 01:13 PM
Well hey cheers for the info, i rang my local hospital to ask whether i can return my current aids because they wont comfotable enough and asked for smaller ones, i was told that they didnt have any smaller ones, so then i said i know someone who has had smaller ones on the nhs and then was told that some people are not suitable for smaller ones because of their loss.

So does this mean that they do supply mini ones but in my case i required a slighlty bigger one? or did it mean that they only offer a standard size and i might be able to go to another hospital for smaller ones?

Well hey you might know, here is my auidogram:

Right ear - 50db at 500hz, 50db at 1000hz, 45db at 2000hz, 40db at 4000hz and 25db at 8000hz.

Left ear - 45db at 500hz, 55db at 1000hz, 55db at 200hz, 35db at 4000hz and 30db at 8000hz.

So if standard size nhs open fit are suitable for me, do you think mini ones will be also?

salsarla
03-17-2010, 09:21 AM
also if anyone knows which one of the two is better, the siemens reflex mini or the oticon zest mini

RoseRodent
03-17-2010, 10:49 AM
They said I would have been suitable for the Reflex L if I hadn't wanted the direct input that is only on the larger Reflex M. I am apparently the "very limit" of the fitting range at 60dB so I reckon that you should be able to get a Reflex L with thin tube and closed domes, which is not strictly speaking an "open fit" but in terms of it looking like one with the thin tubes coming down it does look the same.

It's always easier to ask questions if you know the sales name for the various hearing aids, and I believe that the Reflex L is more or less a Siemens Life of either bottom or middle model. They are some of the best NHS aids but my area doesn't dispense Oticon so I have never really looked up their information, such as it is! In terms of what is "better" it's always a question of what suits you more.

Simens for NHS "contact us" have always been very helpful, why not send them your audiogram and ask them are you a suitable candidate on paper for a Reflex L and what is the nearest audiology department to you that dispenses Siemens aids. They are likely to want to help, it is a sale for them after all, even if we don't hand over money from hand to hand in the transaction. https://hearing.siemens.com/uk/02-generic/contact.jsp

Incidentally I just remembered that someone up North was dispensed an NHS micro aid Resound Danalogic 6. The NHS can order any hearing aid it likes for anyone, they don't have to be in "the catalogue", however they catalogue ones are normally cheaper since they get the full volume discount for dispensing catalogue aids. Some areas go their own way and negotiate their own deals.

salsarla
03-26-2010, 06:39 AM
I sent them an email and they said that i am not suitable for the siemens reflex l, but my local hospital says that i am suitable for the oticon spirit zest.

I am now trying to get the oticon spirit zest but my local hospital only does the oticon spirit 3 and the next closest hospital only orders a few oticon spirit zest because they are so expensive.

So now i have to wait to see if im lucky enough to get a oticon spirit zest.

Um bongo
03-26-2010, 07:27 AM
Well hey you might know, here is my auidogram:

Right ear - 50db at 500hz, 50db at 1000hz, 45db at 2000hz, 40db at 4000hz and 25db at 8000hz.

Left ear - 45db at 500hz, 55db at 1000hz, 55db at 200hz, 35db at 4000hz and 30db at 8000hz.

So if standard size nhs open fit are suitable for me, do you think mini ones will be also?

The bit I bolded, did they tell you that or did you just assume it because that's what was fitted?

With a moderate/mild reverse sloping loss that recovers at high frequency, do you think that the Open-fit high frequency biased* hearing instruments are most suitable for you? Or do you think you were fitted with what your hospital 'had on the shelf' ?

*Most of these instruments produce little or no gain below 1500Hz as the open tip will 'vent' this output away with little added benefit to you.

salsarla
03-30-2010, 10:26 AM
Well they told me that i was just in range for the open fit hearing aids so i guess i am at the limits.

salsarla
03-31-2010, 08:41 AM
Does anyone here also know if the rite tubes are the same size as the open fit tubes?

canthearmuch
03-31-2010, 09:19 AM
Does anyone here also know if the rite tubes are the same size as the open fit tubes?

none of the NHS aids you have mentioned offers RITE....they are either open fit or custom mould.

salsarla
04-24-2010, 06:53 AM
Well the nhs dont actually offer rite, but if i go private im assuming the rite tubes are smaller than standard open fit? just for the more cosmetical point of view.

salsarla
05-18-2010, 10:49 AM
i think the rite have slightly smaller tubes but not that much difference!