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Hearing Amplifiers and Hearing Aids – Which is Right for You?

Choosing between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers is just one of the many things that aging adults and their loved ones must consider. That is why it is necessary to have all the facts to make an informed decision.

What is the Difference Between Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers?

Though they are entirely different devices, they are used to achieve virtually the same results. Hearing amplifiers or personal sound amplifiers make it possible to hear the most subtle nearby sounds. They are commonly the shape of earbuds or Bluetooth devices.

Hearing aids enable the user to hear more complex sounds around them with far more precision. Hearing aids have significantly improved since the first ones appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, with a more complex, electronic, and compact design. Modern hearing aids can be worn in or behind the user’s ear and look much more subtle than the earlier models.  As they are professionally tuned to boost specific frequencies, the purpose of hearing aids is to help those experiencing hearing loss.

There are other significant differences between hearing amplifiers and hearing aids, including their basic design, the process of tuning, and their intended use.

Key Differences

  • Hearing aids are more complex. Amplifiers will boost all sounds while hearing aids have a unique design that will personalize the device to boost specific frequencies instead of all of them. Those who need a tool to hear everyday conversation will find a hearing aid more desirable.
  • A hearing amplifier will enable the user to hear people in conversation. It will also amplify additional sounds around them, such as the rustling of trees, a distant TV or radio, or other noises that may be uncomfortable to hear at a higher volume. The purpose of hearing amplifiers is to help people who do not suffer from hearing loss yet need a tool that enables them to hear softer, more subtle sounds. Hearing amplifiers can help people at sporting events, weddings, or outings where it is beneficial to have the ability to hear things at a higher volume. Manufacturers do not customize these devices based on an individual’s hearing loss pattern.
  • Hearing aids are much more involved and meant to address the user’s hearing loss, not just increase environmental sounds around them. They can adjust to whatever hearing loss the user is experiencing, while the user cannot alter an amplifier in any way.

Cost and Accessibility

Patients do not need a prescription to purchase hearing amplifiers over the counter.  Their one-size-fits-all design makes them more affordable and more comfortable to access.  Hearing aids, on the other hand, need to be fit by a professional and may also cost far more than the average hearing amplifier.

Consumers need to be aware that these products are not the same. Only hearing aids can make up for impaired hearing while hearing amplifiers are intended for those with no hearing impairment but want sounds amplified in their environment.

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