Going Deaf?

I clicked on one of those adverts that crop up on social media. It could have been Facebook or Twitter, all I know is that it said free. Get your hearing checked free.

A bearded man holds a coiled ear trumpet to his right ear.
Creative commons picture from Hadley Paul Garland on Flickr

I am always sceptical of these adverts, I have heard of computers having been infected by viruses from social media adverts, but I use a Chromebook with virus protection. Chromebooks are advertised as having built in virus protection and I have a second layer over that, and I still don’t think I’m fully protected, but it’s fine for things like this. The question is, is it a scam? If it does, I shall be naming the company.

From the link, which did not mention the name of the company, I was put through to a local branch of a large company. I thought, “Why not? I’m retired, have time on my hands and have training at spotting fraud from a previous job. What do I have to lose?” Read on…

I turn up for the test. The man giving the test is well dressed, well spoken in the local accent and puts me at ease, although he insists on me using one of their face masks rather than the better one, three layers of cloth and a disposable filter, that I am wearing. The room where the test is done has a noise from the premises above that I find distracting, probably an air conditioning unit. I don’t think that is ideal for a hearing test, even one on headphones. The teat was on headphones and consisted of sounds of different frequencies decreasing in volume and I has to indicate if I had heard it: First the left ear then the right. After that was the same test again but right ear and using a devise that vibrated the bone behind the ear.

I was told that I have a little hearing loss in the high frequencies on the left and some more on the right. The graphs I was shown were a comparison, I was told, with what would be expected for someone in their 20s. The graphs had no labelling on their indices, I am unconvinced. I was then fitted with hearing aids and asked leading questions: Is this tinny? It was. Is that better? It was. I would have preferred open questions like, What does that sound like. I was told I needed these hearing aids, which I thought were only marginally better than my natural hearing which is good enough particularly in the left ear. to be a musician. The price was staggeringly high. After haggling I was told there were some as low as nearly £900. It was told, when I asked about the NHS that NHS hearing aids are free but theirs were of higher quality. I was expecting a harder sell than that.

So I let my GP know about the test. I was asked if I had been given the results of the test so that it could be used in a referral, I wasn’t, just a business card. My referral letter is ready. I’ll see how it goes with the NHS. My feeling is that the test I had was fine but the sale was too pushy and the price far too high.

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