Hearing loss is common, affecting an estimated 48 million people across the nation. But despite its prevalence, only one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids actually seeks treatment. There are many possible reasons for this, one of them being misconceptions and confusion about what options are available.
Below we provide an overview of hearing amplifiers versus hearing aids and which is a better option for your hearing loss.
Hearing amplifiers go by another name: personal sound amplifying products (PSAPs).
If you want to buy a hearing amplifier, you don’t need a prescription; you can simply pick one up at Most electronics stores like Power Electronics. These devices are not regulated by the FDA.
While both types of devices work by amplifying sounds in your environment, they are still very different. Namely, hearing amplifiers pick up every sound and amplify it evenly. This is helpful when you’re in a quiet setting and need a boost, like if you’re hunting or bird watching, but they aren’t very well suited for environments like restaurants and conferences, where there are many sounds coming in at different volume levels.
Hearing aids are medical devices that are prescribed by an audiologist after a hearing test. The prescription and settings of your hearing aid are unique to your exact level of hearing loss, similar to how glasses are suited to your vision.
Hearing aids are class 1 medical devices according to the FDA and are regulated accordingly.
Unlike hearing amplifiers, hearing aids pick out the exact sounds and frequencies you have trouble hearing and amplify only those sounds, so background sounds stay in the background. This helps you better understand speech, even in environments where there is a lot of ambient noise.
Hearing aids also offer a number of state-of-the-art features, including:
- Tinnitus masking.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Smartphone app connectivity.
- Digital noise reduction.
- Artificial intelligence.
- Wind noise reduction.
Which Is Better?
Which device is better depends on your unique situation. If you want to enhance your hearing for certain hobbies or if you simply want to hear everything louder, hearing amplifiers can get the job done. However, if you have hearing loss, you should seek proper medical attention and talk to your audiologist about hearing aids.
For more information about the benefits of hearing aids or to schedule an appointment, call San Francisco Audiology today.