Hearing tests, whether done privately or on the NHS, will quickly determine whether that bad telephone or radio signal or the constant mumbling of others is, in fact, a dreaded sign of hearing loss.
If a GP has established that no medical reason exists for a constant ringing in the ears or mumbled gaps in a conversation, then a referral to a private hearing aid dispenser is the fastest means of ascertaining if the passage of time could possibly be causing deterioration in the sense of hearing. If this is the case, then a private hearing aid dispenser will probably have the device ready for fitting within a 2-week time frame. Hearing tests that are done on the NHS usually require a 4 to 5 week waiting period although the quality of the hearing aids which they provide is no less than that of private hearing aid dispensers. Testing procedures are also alike and no discomfort will be experienced by persons undergoing the audiometric test.
Audiometric testing measures the efficiency of the ear’s outer and inner mechanisms in sending sound vibrations to the brain. The ear canal is the vehicle by which sound waves reach the eardrum and cause it to vibrate and send an encoded text along to the bones in the middle ear. The inner ear houses the cochlea which is the main sensory organ of hearing. It is the cochlea which is responsible for transmitting, via its tiny hair cells, nerve impulses that then rapidly make their way to the brain to be recorded as sound.
Private hearing aid dispensers will determine the kind of hearing loss suffered by testing the ability of individuals to hear sounds that enter through the ear canal and sounds that are transmitted via the skull. These are respectively known as air-conducted sounds and bone-conducted sounds. This is accomplished by registering the individual’s responses to a particular series of tones and words which in turn will determine the suitability of various hearing aids.
Private hearing aid dispensers are qualified professionals who offer the convenience of shorter waiting periods for hearing tests, and a wider variety of hearing aids from which to choose. Obtaining a hearing aid from a private source can be costly and require that the device be insured against loss, damage, or theft. Batteries will need to be purchased by the individual and payment for any repairs to the device, once the guarantee has expired, will also have to be personally borne although medical insurance may bear a portion of these costs. The choice is thus between NHS waiting periods and private service costs.