Why Choose us? NHS Hearing Aids vs Private Hearing Aids

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At South East Hearing Care Centres we are well established as your premier independent, family run local hearing centre with clinics in Horsham, Chichester and Seaford. We are committed to patient care and to improving the standards of audiology by investing in the latest hearing aid technology. We are also executive members of the Association of Hearing Healthcare Professionals and all our centres are classed as Centres of Excellence.

One of the questions we often get asked is “Why should I come to you for hearing aids and not go to the NHS or one of the cheaper large chains?” and “Why should I be using you as a private service when you are more expensive?”

These are good questions. We will answer them here by showing you a set of comparisons between the NHS or large chains and private hearing aid providers.

Private audiologist services

There will always be a private and public sector but there are really two types of private sector; large chains or independents.

In most cases, independent providers of hearing healthcare have access to a wider range of manufacturers and technology. Being independently owned these practices will spend more time gathering information and choosing the best solution for you rather than being restricted to a single manufacturer.

Why do any of us choose to access medical care privately? Usually the number one reason is speed of access to appointments. We take this much further and give you the luxury of time and knowledge. We firmly believed that the better informed a patient is, the better the benefit outcomes will be.

To speak with us about our services and to help you make the right decision for your healthcare, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

A tailored approach

Private (Independent): Custom, bespoke, tailored, individual hearing aids. Immediacy of appointments. Longer unhurried appointments. More information imparted so you are better informed. No limit to the amount of aftercare appointments. Access to all manufacturers and a wider range of services and procedures ensuring better outcomes.

NHS: One size fits all, not tailored or bespoke. Limited or shorter appointment times and longer waiting times for appointments. Very limited aftercare.

Large chains: Limited choice as large chains tend to be allied to one manufacturer only. Fewer appointment times available. Hearing aids become commoditised and some use high pressure selling techniques. Shorter appointment times.

Access to invisible hearing aids

Private (independent): Discreet and bespoke and with ourselves can be completely invisible with Lyric.

NHS: Not discreet, not invisible, can be obvious and  cannot provide Lyric hearing aids.

Large chains: Can offer discreet solutions but not invisible. None of the large chains supply the Lyric style hearing aid.

Excellent choice of colours

Private (independent): Full colour choice from an extensive range of the world’s leading manufacturers.

NHS: Limited colour options.

Large chains: Wider choice of colours but only have access to one or two manufacturers.

Unhurried appointments

Private (independent): Luxury of time, unhurried appointments. No limit to the amount of appointments or aftercare.

NHS and large chains: Limited time, hurried appointments.

No long waiting times

Private (independent): No waiting times, virtually immediate appointments.

NHS: Longer waiting times, shorter appointments.

Large chains: Fewer appointments available.

Access to the latest technology

Private (independent): Leading and latest technology, superior diagnostics and verification.

NHS: Older technology, standard testing and verification.

Large chains: Fewer manufacturers to access.

Enhanced equipment

Private (independent): Superior equipment, state-of-the-art technology, techniques and protocols. Higher standards of diagnostics and verification. Wider access to all manufacturers and diagnostic equipment. Higher spec equipment used and more procedures offered.

NHS and large chains: Standard equipment and limited innovation.

Unlimited aftercare

Private (independent): Unlimited and immediate aftercare appointments.

NHS: Very few aftercare appointments and long waiting times.

Large chains: Fewer aftercare appointments. Less time allocated to each appointment.

Immediate repair solutions

Private (independent): Immediate solutions for repairs and loan aids available.

NHS and large chains: Potentially poor follow up and aftercare and long waits for repairs.

Greater battery of tests

Private (independent): Greater battery of tests and information gathering.

NHS and large chains: Basic or standard battery of tests due to limited time.

More choice in manufacturers

Private (independent): Best in class, world firsts, exclusivity and experience. Can access all manufacturers. Exclusive solutions only available to independent hearing healthcare providers, not available in large chains.

NHS and large chains: Restricted to certain manufacturers, less experience.

Better familiarity with staff

Private (independent): Continuity of staff, familiarity, personal knowledge and experience. Building of long term relationships.

NHS and large chains: High turnover of staff, limited continuity.

Why buy hearing aids privately?

The number one reason is to forgo the waiting times, but beware, simply ‘going private’ will not always ensure you receive the best solution or advice. Anything non-NHS can be considered private, yet, the private sector can be split into several categories.

Large chains

The large chains are private and can provide much more recent technology than the NHS, though with only a few manufacturers they can choose from. Independent providers will offer a much wider choice with access to all the world’s leading manufacturers. 


Independents can be further categorised as purely hearing aid sellers or centres of excellence who provide a wide scope of practice and are multi-disciplined like ourselves. Our core competencies are more varied with a holistic approach and a much more extensive range of services available. All your hearing needs and ear health requirements can be found under one roof.

Some hearing aid suppliers who are private cannot offer wax removal for example and you then need to access that service before proceeding, whereas a centre of excellence independent provider can offer all types of services so there is no pause in your journey to better hearing.

Online private supplier

The final category of private supplier is online and these should be avoided at all costs as they offer aftercare only through a third party and it is limited at best. You should never purchase a medical device, which a hearing aid is, online and expect it to provide the correct level of benefit you require. The only sensible process is a face-to-face consultation with a qualified hearing care professional.

More about South East Hearing Care Centres

We will not compromise on quality of care. We use the best and latest diagnostic equipment and all ear examinations are performed using microscopes and recorded with video images onto a large screen. We carry out a large battery of tests in addition to pure tone audiometry, such as speech in noise to identify how much you understand in the presence of noise, like restaurants, groups and meetings, and tympanometry, an impedance measure, to test the middle ear function.

We are multi-disciplined and can safely remove wax through micro suction or irrigation. We are known as the invisible solution specialists with the most discreet hearing devices available. Being truly independent means we can access the world’s best manufacturers.

We exclusively fit Lyric, the most invisible hearing aid solution in the world and the world’s first deep fit extended wear hearing device. Intensive training and careful vetting goes into those chosen to become authorised Lyric partners and no one else locally, is allowed or trained to fit them.

Probably the biggest single thing we offer all our clients is the luxury of time. This enables us to perform extensive tests and obtain as much information as possible in a relaxed setting. Whether it is for ear protection, hearing correction, tinnitus advice or wax removal, you’ll be pleased you chose us.

Speak with our team today

We hope that this has helped you get a better understanding of the difference between what you can expect going private with us for hearing aids, and what you can expect going to the NHS or to the big chains.

You can learn more about how we do a hearing test and some of the other services we offer, such as microsuction ear wax removal and hearing aid optimisation.

We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. You can also have a look at where our clinics are situated across the South East to find the one that is closest to you.