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Frequently Asked Questions

Causes of hearing loss


Ageing is one of the main causes of hearing loss. For some of us, hearing loss will begin in our 30s, but by the time we are in our 80s, more than half of us will have significant hearing loss.


Our ears are delicate and sensitive. In fact, just 85dB can do damage to your hearing – that’s the equivalent of traffic on a busy street. With noise all around us – at work, in shops, bars and in headphones – it’s hardly surprising that our ears get damaged over time.

Excessive noise

Damage to the ear from excessive noise can be temporary or permanent.

Temporary threshold shift: Your hearing feels dull for a few hours, sometimes days.

Permanent threshold shift: Follows regular or prolonged exposure to excessive noise, or exposure to very high sound levels.


Genetic factors can also put you at risk of hearing loss and deafness. Genes can make you more susceptible to noise damage and they play a role in around half of all cases of profound deafness.


There are many diseases affecting the ears that can cause hearing problems. These include:

  • Otitis Media
  • Glue ear
  • Otosclerosis
  • Usher’s Syndrome
  • Ménière’s Disease
  • Acoustic neuroma or acoustic trauma

Recognising hearing loss

There are many different signs that suggest you might be experiencing some level of hearing loss. We highly recommend that you speak to an audiologist if you are concerned, particularly if you are noticing any of the following:

  • It’s hard to hear what people are saying in noisy environments
  • People often seem to be mumbling
  • You often have to ask people to repeat things
  • It’s difficult to follow conversations in a group of people
  • People say you have the television or radio turned up too loud
  • It’s difficult to hear what people say on the telephone

Degrees of hearing loss

There are four different degrees of hearing loss, which can be determined using a standard hearing test or ‘Pure Tone Audiogram’. This is just one of the many tests we offer at Pindrop as part of our extensive consultation process.

Mild hearing loss

You may find it hard to hear soft sounds, such as speech in a noisy environment.

Moderate hearing loss

You may be unable to hear soft and moderately loud sounds, and have considerable difficulty understanding speech, particularly with background noise.

Severe hearing loss

Some loud sounds will be audible, but communication without a hearing instrument is impossible.

Profound hearing loss

Some extremely loud sounds are audible, but communication without a hearing instrument is impossible.

Book an appointment today

If you have been referred for a test or are in need of our services, you can make your appointment by phone on 02074872660 or email [email protected] in the usual way.

Book An Appointment

Going private makes all the difference

Choose Pindrop and you’ll have access to a whole host of additional benefits that aren’t available through the NHS.

New technologies

While the NHS can provide digital hearing aids free of charge, either through a hospital audiology department or through some high street retailers, these are not the same as the hearing aids we prescribe. We will never prescribe hearing aids privately that are available on the NHS. While some of the brand names might be the same, the technology available on the NHS is between 4 to 7 years behind the premium hearing aids we offer.


We are free to recommend the best hearing aids for the job – the most suitable manufacturer, level of technology and the style most appropriate to your needs. The NHS is only contracted to supply the larger, behind the ear type and these aren’t typically very discreet. Take a look at the types of hearing aids we offer at Pindrop – we can even supply a hearing aid that can be worn for 3 months at a time.

In-depth consultation

The NHS is under huge pressure to see large numbers of patients within a limited time, and a full hearing assessment and fitting can be as little as 45 minutes long. At Pindrop, you will be given a lengthy consultation with an expert audiologist. We know that this is the only way to truly determine the best solution for your hearing needs, as it allows time for essential procedures such as Real Ear Measurements or Speech Discrimination Tests. See our patient journey for a complete guide to our extensive service offering.

Wait times

The current wait list for an NHS hearing aid is around 8 – 12 weeks, and the wait for follow up appointments can be as long as 6 months. Go private with Pindrop and you could have an appointment within the week, and our digital hearing aids can be ready within 7-10 days from your assessment.


If your hearing aids need repairing or servicing, you’ll want this done as quickly as possible. With Pindrop, review and follow up appointments are arranged at a time to suit you and are typically available within one day. NHS aftercare services can vary considerably. Some departments operate a ‘walk in’ service, which can involve queuing for up to 2 hours to have your hearing aid repaired. Others operate an appointment system, where the wait can be as long as 6 weeks or more.

Representing real value

We understand that patients are concerned about hearing aid prices and the cost of appointments, so we put an emphasis on value. Pindrop is a dedicated hearing aid specialist, so you are guaranteed to receive the highest standard of care, from assessment and fitting to aftercare.

Our prestigious hearing clinic on Harley Street and state-of-the-art facility on Winchmore Hill have been established for ten years, and 8 months respectively. We work alongside leading ENT consultants and we come recommended by GPs.

Our hearing aid prices are very competitive when compared with other full-time high street clinics, but do feel free to compare using www.aihhp.org.

Not all hearing tests are equal

We are the hearing experts and we know that an effective hearing assessment is conducted through a series of tests in a specially designed environment.

You may have visited websites claiming to offer the same hearing aids and tests for a much lower price, but in our experience there is always a reason. Often it can be because the people running the website are middlemen, who simply put you in touch with a third party – usually a hearing aid dispenser working door to door with basic, portable equipment. You will not receive the same standard of assessment in your own home as you would in a clinic.

Unfortunately, we get lots of enquiries from patients who are unhappy having bought hearing aids this way. Their hearing has not been improved sufficiently or they have not been able to contact the dispenser to access any aftercare.

Why we don’t offer free hearing tests

Many of the large, national hearing aid-dispensing companies offer free hearing tests, but there’s often a catch. The free hearing test may in fact be a basic screening that’s being used as part of a sales pitch. The dispensers often work on commission and it’s their job to sell you a hearing aid. Less time will be spent on evaluating your hearing and more time will be spent on selling.

Charging for our appointments enables us to offer a far greater level of clinical evaluation, which includes Speech Discrimination Tests. There won’t be any hard sell, just objective, clinical advice. You will receive a thorough explanation of your results along with a written report and recommendations.

We provide a professional and clinical service

Hearing aids are sophisticated Medical devices and therefore need to be correctly programmed and fitted. If this work is not done correctly then the hearing aids will not be as effective as they could be and in some cases can make the problem worse. You could pay less for a Premium device from another provider but receive a greater improvement in your hearing from a basic device fitted properly by Pindrop.

This is because we are clinical audiologists with years of experience with hundreds of patients. Our assessment and fitting protocols are of the highest standard, spending the appropriate amount of time and using the highest level of equipment to ensure your hearing is maximised to its full potential and that you continue to benefit from this for years to come.

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Book an appointment today

If you have been referred for a test or are in need of our services, you can make your appointment by phone on 02074872660 or email [email protected] in the usual way.

Book An Appointment

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Patient Info


Harley Street

41 Harley Street, London W1G 8QH

0207 487 2660

Winchmore Hill

748 Green Lanes, Winchmore Hill, London N21 3RE

0208 360 2510

Chelsea, Kings Road

412 Kings Road Chelsea, London SW10 0LJ

0208 150 2330

Spire Bushey Hospital

Heathbourne Road, Bushey Herts, WD23 1RD

0208 901 5555

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Pindrop Hearing Limited is registered in England and Wales No 05909296 Trading address 41 Harley Street, London, W1G8QH. Pindrop Hearing Limited acts as a credit broker and only offers credit products from Tabeo.

Pindrop Hearing Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registered number is 796909. Credit subject to age and status.

© Pindrop Hearing 2024