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By: Oliver Wright, Director and Audiologist, Digiclear Hearing

I hope in this article, to help you to understand the primary role of an independent, private hearing aid audiologist. The differences between private and NHS hearing aid provision, and what you should expect from a visit to an independent hearing aid audiologist.

My name is Oliver Wright, I have been a Hearing Aid Audiologist for 25 years and audiology is the only job I’ve ever had. I work with my father Allan and audiology is my passion. We own a business called DigiClear Hearing, practicing from Hornchurch, Chingford and Bishops Stortford. We also have sister companies County Hearing Care in Brentwood and The Hearing Care Centre in Colchester. Over the years my father and I have worked together, we have built up a wealth of knowledge on hearing and hearing loss and the barriers in communication this can present. Our experience enables us to advise our clients on the best possible way to take care of and make the most of their hearing.

For many people, an increased awareness of hearing loss can be a worrying thing. Hearing loss is often misunderstood, people can be accused of having “selective” hearing, they feel they hear some things perfectly well but then really struggle with others. People worry that having hearing loss indicates old age and there is increasing press highlighting the links between hearing loss and dementia risk. Because of this, for me, the main responsibility of a private hearing aid audiologist is to take time to help people to understand hearing and hearing loss, to help reduce those fears.

Following a hearing test with a private hearing aid audiologist, time is spent explaining the test results and why this is resulting in what is being experienced with the hearing. A hearing test should not be an opportunity to buy a hearing aid! If hearing technology is needed, an independent hearing aid audiologist will take the time to guide you through the wealth of choices in the private sector to help you to make an informed choice on how best to proceed, in one’s own time.

If it is the case, that a hearing device or devices, is the appropriate course of action to take, we understand that time is needed to help you to get the most from it. No matter how good today’s hearing technology is, it does take time to get used to and during that time you will need a patient audiologist to help you, guide you and keep you motivated as you adapt to a different way of sound. We would normally try to see people at least every 2 weeks during the first 2 months to help you through this process of adaptation.

Though we are a privately run business, the independent hearing care companies my father and I manage are very pro-NHS.  Your local NHS department works incredibly hard to give the best care they can and we love them for it; and at the same time, we do not hesitate to recommend you also seek advice from your local NHS audiology department, irrespective.

However, private, independent hearing aid companies like ours, have the luxury of being able to afford more time during a consultation with our patients as well as being able to propose a range of choice on the type and style of hearing devices that are manufactured by various hearing aid suppliers, to suit an individual’s particular hearing loss. This more personalised service is not possible in an NHS environment.

We appreciate you may already be wearing or trying NHS hearing aid/s and are quite accepting of them. If, however, you would like to go a step further and seek a private consultation, with an audiologist who can spend, that vital and valuable time with you, I would recommend you research your local area to find one that is conveniently located to you.

Importantly, take the time to meet them, talk one-to-one about your hearing issues. You will be on the route to developing a very worthwhile and positive relationship, building upon that, as you spend time together to create a better hearing experience.

Oliver-Daniel Wright – RHAD – HCPC registered

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