Hearing aids can help with hearing loss. They work by picking up sounds around you and amplifying them inside your ear canal. They can also be set to connect to induction loops, which help you hear certain people more clearly in noisier environments.
Hearing aids only work if you have some of your hearing left, so the earlier you get one the more effective it can be.
On the NHS
If you need a hearing aid, you can get one free on the NHS. Your GP will refer you to an audiologist, who will assess your hearing and tell you the best type of hearing aid for you.
The NHS provides hearing aids as a long-term loan. This means they will provide repairs and replacement batteries for free. But they may charge you if it gets broken or lost and needs replacing.
There are many different types of hearing aids. Your hearing specialist will help you find the right one. Behind the ear hearing aids are the most common type. They’re one of the easiest types to use and suit most people with hearing loss. The NHS usually provides this type of hearing aid.
The type of hearing aid that best suits you will depend on your level of hearing loss. The NHS has information about hearing aids and how the NHS can help you with them.
You may want to buy a hearing aid privately if the model you want isn't available on the NHS, or if you're worried about potential waiting times for an NHS hearing aid. This can be expensive – a single hearing aid can cost between £500 and £3,500.
There is often greater choice if you receive treatment privately. Options can include more hidden hearing aids, and hearing aids designed for people with hearing loss only in one ear.
It's best to shop around – some models may suit you more than others. Some of the more expensive hearing aids are much smaller. They can be tricky to operate and change batteries if you have sight or dexterity problems. More expensive models may not be the best for you, so don’t feel pressured into buying one if you're not sure it'll be worth it.
Some people can't use hearing aids - for example, if you've got no hearing at all or if you're allergic to the materials they're made of. There are other devices that can help you even if your hearing loss is profound and permanent. Talk to your GP or audiologist about other options.