Figuring out what treatment is best for your type and degree of hearing loss can be challenging. While hearing aids are the most common treatment, they are expensive and require a time commitment to attend appointments. Hearing amplifiers are often more convenient and available at a lower price. But does this come at a cost to your hearing health?
Hearing Aids vs. Hearing Amplifiers
Even though these devices may look similar, there are a number of key differences between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers.
Hearing aids are categorized as class 1 medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning they require an evaluation by an audiologist and a prescription.
These devices are programmed by your audiologist with information about the specific frequencies you have trouble hearing. The device is then able to identify these specific sounds and amplify them so you can hear them clearly.
Hearing aids are available in a wide variety of styles and technology levels. Most hearing aids contain the following features:
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Digital noise reduction
- Artificial intelligence
- Wind noise reductions
Also known as personal sound amplifying products (PSAPs), hearing amplifiers do not require a prescription. This means you can purchase these inexpensive devices online without discussing your needs with a medical professional.
It is important to note that hearing amplifiers do not work the same as hearing aids. While hearing aids are able to selectively amplify important sounds while helping you tune out distracting background noise, which makes carrying on a conversation in Q Restaurant and Bar easier, hearing amplifiers are unable to differentiate. This means these devices amplify all sounds, from your child’s voice to the birds in the trees at Washington Park, and even already loud sounds like a car backfiring.
Not isolating specific sounds can make it challenging for those with moderate to severe hearing loss to hear. These devices may however be a good first step for someone with very mild hearing loss before they are ready for hearing aids.
Which Device Is Better?
Deciding between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers is a personal decision. While hearing amplifiers are cheaper and are easier to acquire, they do not provide the same level of personalized treatment or work for certain levels of hearing loss.
The first step to any treatment plan is to have your hearing tested. Once you have the results and know your degree of loss, you can discuss your options with your audiologist.
To learn more about hearing aids or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Oregon Ear, Nose & Throat Center today.