Tip of the day: securing your BTEs

If your low-frequency hearing is OK, you’ll be able to hear fine with a standard stethoscope. The problem comes if you have hearing aids: it’s not always convenient to take them right out every time you need the stethoscope. But if you have behind-the-ear aids with conventional earmoulds, you can flip the moulds out quickly, leaving the aids hooked over your ears.

Admitedly, they do sometimes make a bid for freedom, especially if you have spectacles competing for over-ear space. So at the start of your working day, try toupee tape or little stickies to stick the aids to your head or ear. Continue reading “Tip of the day: securing your BTEs”

VAT and import duty exemption

I’ve known for a long time that if you’re buying equipment in the UK, that is for your sole use and needed due to a disability, you don’t have to pay VAT. Some suppliers of deafness-related equipment have a simple declaration readily available so VAT is deducted before you pay anything. (eg Connevans’ VAT information, Action On Hearing Loss shop information.)

I’ve just learned* there’s a similar set-up if you’re buying equipment overseas. Usually there’s duty to pay either via the carrier, or at customs if you’re bringing something in yourself. Someone in our email group has just passed on the news that you can make a similar declaration and won’t have to pay duty.

UPDATE: 23/9/2015

To qualify for exemption, HMRC states equipment must be “specially designed to give educational, employment or social help to people with physical or mental disabilities” (see HMRC ref below.) Their reply to my equiry states, “unfortunately, the VAT relief only covers equipment that is designed solely for the use by disabled people” which excludes most if not all electronic stethoscopes, “and also is to be used for your own private and domestic use – so this wouldn’t cover equipment that you use for work.” Which definitely excludes all stethoscopes as well as much other equipment.  If in doubt about a specific situation, I suggest checking with HMRC.

Continue reading “VAT and import duty exemption”

Try before you buy

There’s no “one size fits all” solution, especially with stethoscopes. But that also goes for other equipment such as assisted listening devices that can be even more expensive. So do your best to agree a trial period with the supplier. This means you can get a full refund if you return the equipment in time,though delivery costs may not be included. Continue reading “Try before you buy”