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2nd Hand Hearing Aid Reprogramming?

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Martin King 217/12/2019 07:52:33
686 forum posts
260 photos

Hi All,

I wear a set of WIDEX behind the ear hearing aids which i got 2 years ago from SpecSavers in Dorchester at a cost of just over £1700, Very happy with them and have received exemplary service from the two audiologists who work there and we get on very well.

About 18 months ago I was telling an 80 year old dear friend about how good they were and he went to his local branch of SS and bought a set of top of the line in ear aids and was delighted with them. They were just shy of £3000!

Very sadly he passed away recently and the aids have been given to me and I made a good donation to his favourite charity The Gurkhas. in his name.

Over 3 years warranty still left on these!

Yesterday I went into my local SS with these and all documentation and lots of spare UNUSED domes and parts that came with them to try and get them programmed for my settings.

Was told that it is impossible for them to do this as they are medical items and come under something called NICE rules.

I tried arguing that if new UNUSED parts were fitted there is no chance of any contamination etc but this fell on deaf ears, (pardon the pun smiley),

Does anyone know if it is possible to find/employ a private audiologist to proramme these? I have my audiogram printout with all settings etc.

Seems like they just want these chucked in the bin which is crazy.

What happens if they are given to charity, could not get an answer to that one!

Regards, Martin

Speedy Builder517/12/2019 08:11:34
2027 forum posts
144 photos

pop over to France - Not quite so fussy over here.

HOWARDT17/12/2019 08:26:37
568 forum posts
15 photos

I wear hearing aids so was interested in this. Looking on the net I believe the information is incorrect. Whilst NICE cover hearing aids it is recommendations on implementation. There seem to be firms out there who can and do service secondhand aids. A bit of a search will come up with a few companies in the UK who will do what you want.

John Haine17/12/2019 08:56:18
3170 forum posts
171 photos

There are private audiologists, I use (and could recommend) one. However they get some of their recompense from the suppliers whose products they prescribe so may be unwilling to help (or contractually unable). Could particularly be the case with a chain like SS. So shop around. I must say my brief experience of SS was very poor - why they thought it would be a good idea to do hearing tests next to an air conditioner in a busy shop I can't think.

Mike Poole17/12/2019 09:16:27
avatar
2614 forum posts
63 photos

Assuming that hearing does change then couldn’t you just say that they are not as good as when first fitted and have a retest and retune? Don’t mention you are not the original owner.

Mike

RichardN17/12/2019 09:16:52
116 forum posts
9 photos

My son wears (NHS) aids too and has since birth- every time they are upgraded they are secondhand (remanufactured) but entirely under NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence I think) guidance. The aids are always owned by the NHS and should a miracle occur and his hearing fixed they will be returned to the NHS or charged to us.
When (if?) he gets cochlear implants next year they will also still be owned by others- the external processors are also ‘secondhand’ but remanufactured- the internal implants will be single patient use... but still owned by the NHS...

I suspect you need to call round to find an audiologist who uses that brand of aid and who is willing to take you on!

Martin King 217/12/2019 09:30:05
686 forum posts
260 photos
Posted by Mike Poole on 17/12/2019 09:16:27:

Assuming that hearing does change then couldn’t you just say that they are not as good as when first fitted and have a retest and retune? Don’t mention you are not the original owner.

Mike

Interestingly they, (SS) had chapter and verse on the aids on their system so the first owner would be be very evident.

Martin

Martin King 217/12/2019 09:34:13
686 forum posts
260 photos

RichardN,

I suspect that the "rules" are very different for NHS supplied aids. My deceased friend originally had NHS aids and they went straight back to the suppliers (SS!) when he ordered the next ones

Clearly THERE IS a mechanism for refurbishing, reconditioning and reuse of these items. It just seems that there is a commercial imperative from the suppliers/manufacturers to not promote this for obvious reasons ie MONEY!

Cheers, Martin

Mike Poole17/12/2019 09:35:32
avatar
2614 forum posts
63 photos
Posted by Martin King 2 on 17/12/2019 09:30:05:
Posted by Mike Poole on 17/12/2019 09:16:27:

Assuming that hearing does change then couldn’t you just say that they are not as good as when first fitted and have a retest and retune? Don’t mention you are not the original owner.

Mike

Interestingly they, (SS) had chapter and verse on the aids on their system so the first owner would be be very evident.

Martin

That scuppers that bit of deception then.

Mike

Martin King 217/12/2019 09:36:42
686 forum posts
260 photos

John Haine, You have a PM

Martin

Clive Foster17/12/2019 09:53:24
2245 forum posts
73 photos

Yikes!

3 grand for a hearing aid. That re-defines outrageous.

Cheap plastic case, cheap microphone and earphone driver hooked up to a basic digitally programmed response curve amplifier with a switch and volume control. All software mated to a dedicated programming app that has to be used by a "skilled" audiologist to set things up for you. Mega profit guaranteed.

Still seem to be locked in the old world of Post Office telephones. You will get it when we say, you will get what we want to give you and you will pay through the nose.

Sorry the world has moved on and its time the hearing aid folk move with it.

Latest Apple airpods have a transparency mode where holding the stem turns microphone used for noise cancelling into a simple sound receiver going straight through to the earphone speakers. Yup just like a hearing aid, albeit without the matched to your ear audio response curve programming. Wonder if you can fool the touch sensor!

How long before Apple cottons on to the market and provides a hearing aid mode with transparency locked on, wi-fi turned off to save power and an app to programme the audio curve to match your ears via an iPhone. Voila! Decent hearing aid for £250 (ish). And I can listen to my music.

At 1/10 th or 1/5 th of the money for a "proper" medically approved hearing aid I'll put up with stupid little plastic sticks showing outside my ear.

If Apple don't I'm darn sure that someone doing the inevitable android based knock off will.

Clive

Edited By Clive Foster on 17/12/2019 09:54:20

Edited By Clive Foster on 17/12/2019 09:56:16

Martin King 217/12/2019 10:22:09
686 forum posts
260 photos

Clive,

It certainly sounds like "protectionism" at its worst!

A bit like my local Peugeot dealer charging £99 for every Sat Nav update. The service dept got really shirty when I told them to look at my purchase invoice from the Sales Dept for my 3 year old car and I had insisted that the next 4 updates were to be gratis just before I signed the invoice and paid for the car.

At the time the sales guy said "Surely you are not going to walk away from this car just for paying for sat nav upgrades" I said "Watch me going out the door for your answer!"

Another point on the hearing aids is if they were donated to a charity they would be reconditioned and reused so the "medical item" bit about NICE regs just does not hold water...

Cheers, Martin

pgk pgk17/12/2019 10:29:46
1845 forum posts
288 photos
Posted by Martin King 2 on 17/12/2019 09:30:05:
Posted by Mike Poole on 17/12/2019 09:16:27:

Assuming that hearing does change then couldn’t you just say that they are not as good as when first fitted and have a retest and retune? Don’t mention you are not the original owner.

Mike

Interestingly they, (SS) had chapter and verse on the aids on their system so the first owner would be be very evident.

Martin

Deception may still work. I was suprised to find SS are franchised and don't have a central data record from each shop. So a different branch of SS and tell them your fictional private place has closed down might work.

pgk

ega17/12/2019 10:35:52
1749 forum posts
152 photos

My siblings and I had just about talked my late father into forking out for private sector hearing aids in place of his NHS items when his condition worsened and he passed on, thereby saving a considerable portion of the funeral costs.

In life, he was an electronics engineer and always maintained that the NHS technology was only about six months behind the private sector in this field, hence his reluctance to go private.

I don't know about SS but some firms will carry out tests in the home; there clearly is a significant markup on these products.

Philip Rowe17/12/2019 11:58:27
181 forum posts
14 photos
Posted by Martin King 2 on 17/12/2019 10:22:09:

Clive,

It certainly sounds like "protectionism" at its worst!

A bit like my local Peugeot dealer charging £99 for every Sat Nav update. The service dept got really shirty when I told them to look at my purchase invoice from the Sales Dept for my 3 year old car and I had insisted that the next 4 updates were to be gratis just before I signed the invoice and paid for the car.

Ah, that update seems like value for money in comparison to my Nissan dealer who quoted me £190 for my sat nav update. You can buy an awful lot of maps for that money!

Sorry for wandering off topic.

Phil

duncan webster17/12/2019 15:19:09
avatar
2649 forum posts
34 photos

You can buy 2 standalone satnavs with lifetime free map updates for that sort of money. Ripoff indeed. There is probably someone out there in a shed making a living out of redoing your satnav for £20. This is one reason always avoid built in gismos

Samsaranda17/12/2019 16:20:18
avatar
939 forum posts
5 photos

I wear two NHS hearing aids to compensate for serious hearing loss gained whilst serving my country, have pondered getting private aids but investigated the costs and found that there are huge markups on private aids, so kicked that idea into touch, the £3,000 quoted is not the most expensive by a long way. My wife unfortunately lost all her hearing resulting from Meningitis which also left her with epilepsy, she had a cochlear implant fitted ten years ago, the cost then with all the pre and post checks including the surgical bit came to about £36,000, lucky we have the NHS in this country. The NHS will only fund a single implant in adults but two in children. The wife’s processor, the bit on the outside of her head, developed a fault last week and was exchanged for a serviceable unit, a hi value item which according to the manufacturers costs about the same as a small family car, again supplied under NHS contract. I would advise anyone contemplating purchasing hearing aids to consider whether the NHS supplied items can cover their needs, they are not perfect for every situation but certainly in most cases are more than adequate. In respect of the cost of hearing aids, the cost that the NHS is charged under contract from the manufacturers, the same manufacturers that supply “private” aids, is displayed on websites that display the NHS costings, the aids cost the NHS little more than £100 each. Bulk purchasing contracts do bring prices down to reasonable levels but there is a hell of a lot of difference between that and the costs charged for private aids.
Dave W

Paul Rhodes17/12/2019 18:04:14
17 forum posts

Martin NICE has nothing to do with this. Perhaps Quality Care Commission has a position...but I suspect simply commercial greed. That said A and E departments will not take back aluminium walking sticks or Zimmer frames citing "hygiene" or H and S depending your correspondent. If your son plays football you might have three of four lying about the house, at cost to the State .

You assume that a £3k device is superior to the cheaper one. It may be, but.....

I would certainly shop around and a private audiologist will strike a deal once they realise you are not going to shell out a king's ransom on a new device. They are commercial pragmatists , who will accept bread and butter today for the goodwill which will ensure cake and cream for them at your next purchase.

jason udall17/12/2019 18:46:54
2025 forum posts
41 photos

It's not impossible that the manufacturer of the aid, doesn't licence the "programming" software ...in such a way that there is a licences fee per "installation".

Seen such with software to programme PLC's and VFD. For my money....those companies don't get my trade but you get the point.

Same thing used to happen with cad post processing..

Any way it might not be the chap at SS but some Sharpie at the hearing aid company that's behind this.

jason udall17/12/2019 18:51:48
2025 forum posts
41 photos

Further.

A quick Google leads to a lively community of home programming of Widex aids.

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