Q. What areas do you cover?
Colin: “Our main centre is in Honiton, East Devon, and we have another by appointment centre in Tiverton, Mid Devon. We also offer home visits throughout Devon and Somerset, including Exeter, Sidmouth, Seaton, Branscombe, Beer, Axminster, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Cullompton, Crediton, Colyton, South Molton, Ottery St. Mary, West Hill, Taunton, Ilminster, Chard, Crewkerne, Wellington, Martock, and Langport”
Q. Are all hearing aids the visible bulky body-worn things I remember from my childhood?
Colin: “A definite no! As modern technology has improved the size of say the common calculator and the computer, so hearing instruments have progressed and are also getting smaller and more sophisticated. The small completely in the canal hearing aids and receiver in the canal products give fantastic performance, great cosmetics and are reasonably priced too.”
Q. How old do I need to be before I need a hearing aid?
Colin: “The greater proportion of hearing loss occurs in the 55+ age group, but many younger people find that they have difficulty where there is background noise. This can be a real problem socially, and whilst indicative of the onset of a hearing problem, a hearing check just in case can often set the mind at rest. Also bear in mind hearing protected in noisy environments at work today in your younger years mean better hearing later in life!”
Q. If I start wearing a hearing aid which amplifies sound into my ear, won’t it make the hearing worse?
Colin: “No! A properly prescribed and fitted hearing aid will actually assist the ear to hear. If the amplification is too loud for you, it can be adjusted to the “most comfortable level”. Excessive noise amplification (such as a large lorry going past you when you have your hearing aid in/on) can have circuitry especially designed to compress the loud sounds or clip the loud sound and protect the residual hearing further.”
Q. What is the actual cost to me?
Colin: “Our Prices vary depending on complexity of the circuitry and the aftercare package chosen, but normally start at around the £395 mark each. Our service packages offer a standard 2, 3 or 5 year warranty on the product, with 2, 3, or 5 year service package from us, so cheap hearing aids are always available, as are discounted models, so there are always savings to be made balanced with a complete aftercare service.”
Q. What about everyday running costs?
Colin: “The main cost in the first year is batteries; some companies offer free trials on new products. Others offer a years’ free batteries with your new purchase, others have a loyalty stamp scheme, as you purchase batteries then stamps are added to a card to get free batteries when you fill the card. On average, depending on the type of aid used, 7-10 days is the realistic figure for battery life and the price per cell is around 30-40 pence each. I’ll let you work out the maths!! We always have cheap offers on hearing aid batteries.”
Q. What guarantees, and what do I get for my money?
Colin: “You get an individual assessment of your hearing loss, an individual hearing instrument, hand built wired and fitted for your particular hearing loss, the professional dispenser’s time, patience and experience in helping you to rehabilitate. The guarantees tend to vary from company to company, but at the Honiton Hearing Centre we offer a no quibble guarantee on materials and workmanship of 24 months from date of fitting as standard, with further extensions of warranty period to either 3 or 5 years available also. The Honiton Hearing Centre also offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the instrument and we cannot resolve the problems for you (less a small service fee) There is also the inclusive back up service once you become our client.”
Q. Do you take on a client who has been fitted elsewhere and may be out of warranty with them?
Colin: “In essence if someone moves to the area, and they have been fitted elsewhere, we are always happy to help. If the aid is out of warranty, then a year’s worth of warranty and service can be purchased from us. If they are a client of either an AIHHP or IHHP member then the cost may be deferred as we are also members of AIHHP.”
Q. Does the hearing test hurt?
Colin: “Not at all, the equipment used to examine the ear health, and the sophisticated test audiometer (diagnostic audiometer) measures your hearing loss through earphones and bone conduction generators worn like a headband. Testing your hearing is not a test of endurance; it should be painless, comfortable and reassuring. If the patient is relaxed the readings will be more accurate.”
Q. Are you a salesman?
Colin: “No! All dispensers employed by the Honiton Hearing Centre are registered Hearing Aid Dispensers, registration is compulsory with the Health and Care Professions Council. We pride ourselves on our training and try never to apply pressure and “make a sale”. It is more important that you the customer feel completely confident and motivated towards the use of a hearing instrument. If a high pressure sale is made and the client is unhappy then the aid is more likely to be rejected.”
Q. Do I have any rights?
Colin: “Yes you do: It is illegal for any home visits to be made un-solicited. You cannot be visited in your home unless you have agreed to or requested a visit.
Only dispensers registered with the Health and Care Professions Council are allowed to dispense hearing aids after a long training period and both theory and practical examinations passed. A registered dispenser will be only too happy to show you his registration card on request.
Your terms are laid out on all the Honiton Hearing Centre’s paperwork, and are in full compliance and support the Health and care Professions Council codes of conduct. Together with the sale of goods, consumer protection and trades description acts; your rights are well protected. As an aside the Honiton Hearing Centre prides itself on its friendly helpful service, which is hoped will lead to repeat and referred business. We are also proud to be members of the Devon County “Buy with Confidence Scheme”, as well as members of the BSHAA customer care scheme, and also be recognised as an AIHHP centre of excellence.”
Q. Can I wear my hearing aid when I’m asleep?
Colin: “In general No, but it is possible to “nod off” in the chair whilst watching TV without too much problem – it has been done in the past! It is better when you climb into bed (or before the shower/bath) to remove them. They are better left open to allow any moisture built up during the day to be dried out overnight.”
Q. Can I wash my hearing aid?
Colin: “NO!!!!!! Water and electrical components do not mix at all well, and the guarantees may well be voided if water is found within. If you wish to clean and maintain the hearing instrument, the tube and mould style of behind the ear instrument can carefully be separated to allow the mould and tube to be cleaned with water, but the electronic bit NO, if you are unsure, your dispenser will show you how and provide special cleaning fluid to assist. Alternatively why not look at our instruction videos on the website. REMEMBER NO WATER. (As an aside special waterproof hearing aids are now available for yachtsmen, sailors, canoeists, etc.)”
Q. How do I know when the battery is flat?
Colin: “Batteries are designed especially for hearing aids to run at full output and then fail, unlike the torch battery that gradually grows dimmer! The hearing aid will either “pip, bleep or speak” to you, or buzz or stop working altogether. If you still have trouble, why not ask the dispenser for a battery tester to test your own batteries at a glance.”
Q. My new hearing aid fits well but sounds ‘tinny’ ‘bassy’ why?
Colin: “This is because your hearing aid has restored the defective frequencies associated with your type of loss; it is bound to sound different, and will take time for your hearing and brain to get used to the new restored sound, so a period of rehabilitation will be required. Often your dispenser will increase the restoration process over time so as not to make the sound too different. It is a matter of choice and persistence.”
Q. Who can I speak to if I have other questions?
Colin: “I am always happy to assist if I can, so feel free to phone in on 01404 47070, if I am with someone I will phone you back, or alternatively e-mail me on: