Consumer Guide 2 - Page 20

What’s the best way to go about this? As you will have gathered - hopefully, with the information in this booklet and with the current economic situation, it should be possible for you to attain the perfect consumer deal - to allow you to assess and buy hearing aids wisely. So we advise… · Get a free trial first. · Ask if you can try both ITE and RIC styles, if you feel that would be beneficial. · Make sure you can trust the provider to deliver a service over many years, not just the initial purchase process. · The more retailers you find that offer a particular manufacturer probably suggests a justifiable market confidence in that make, i.e. if two companies suggest the same make, that should be of interest. · Do not accept that a provider recommending one particular make is necessarily doing so in your best interests. Why is it so important to get your hearing tested? Hearing could be said to be the most important sense. We know that it stimulates more parts of the brain than any other. It is the ‘social sense’ - the sense that we use to interact with our family and friends. Hearing loss can cause a feeling of isolation and a general loss of confidence. It often remains undiscovered for many years. By then, the brain’s ability to process sounds can be permanently damaged. We often do not recognise the onset of a hearing loss – this is usually because it is such a gradual process that we ‘adapt’ to it. The TV volume may creep up, you may ask people to repeat themselves or complain that those around you mumble, you may say that you are tired as an excuse in group situations; you might start raising your voice on the phone. All those over 50 (or working in noisy conditions) should have their hearing checked regularly. With both the modernisation of the NHS and the increased availability of hearing outlets on the High Street, you should find little difficulty in accessing a hearing test. Hearing tests can only be conducted by NHS audiologists or by those registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). They are qualified to test hearing and must continue their education after qualifying to maintain their registration. A HCPC hearing aid dispenser / audiologist is trained to identify ear conditions that need medical attention in the same way as an ophthalmic optician identifies eye problems. Access more information online at: 20