How to Choose Hearing Aids. Do You Need Amplifiers?

Do you need a hearing aid or, a hearing amplifier? Do you understand how to choose hearing aids that will not cause more damage to your hearing? The first step is to get your hearing tested by a hearing professional. You think you hear sounds around you reasonably well, but wish the volume could be enhanced a “tad bit”.

Before rushing off to buy a hearing aid, it is helpful that you understand the difference between a hearing aid and a hearing amplifier.

The Result of your Hearing Test

You’ve had your hearing test. Now your hearing professional interprets the result of your hearing test plotted on a chart (audiogram) to you. It indicates that you suffer from mild hearing loss. Generally, hearing amplifiers are recommended for mild hearing loss.

Now comes the moment of decision for you. Should you buy an expensive, programmable hearing aid certified by the FDA or, settle for a considerably less expensive hearing amplifier which will enhance surrounding sounds?

Note that hearing aids vary in size, color, special features and the way they fit in your ears. Additionally, while your hearing professional can assist with your selection of a hearing aid that will fit your lifestyle and needs, they generally will not help you select a hearing amplifier which is a device not approved by the FDA

Initial Factors to Consider Prior to Buying a Hearing Amplifier

How to Choose Hearing Aids: Hearing Severity and Lifestyle

How to Choose Hearing Aids
Very Loud Noise

1. Your Type of Hearing Loss

The nature and severity of your hearing loss will play a large role in determining which hearing instruments will provide you with the best hearing experience. Typically, hearing amplifiers are recommended for those with mild hearing loss. Some amplifiers on the market are described as catering to mild and moderate hearing loss.

2. Your Lifestyle

What is the nature of your lifestyle? You will need to evaluate the characteristics of your work, home, and free-time environments and activities. Does your hearing loss make any of these challenging? The characteristics of your primary listening environments will help you narrow your technology options and style.

How To Choose Hearing Aids: Technology Requirements

3. Your Technology Needs

Ultimately, sound quality will be your topmost requirement. After all, that is the reason you are in search of a hearing device to buy.

Most true hearing aids process sound digitally can be programmed to suit a wearer’s specific hearing needs. Many hearing aids come in a wide range of designs and degrees of technological functioning. Some have manual volume controls while other models can automatically adjust to the listener’s environment.

Depending on the level of sophistication, some hearing amplifiers come with 1 – 4 program modes such as Everyday mode. Moderate Noise Reduction mode, Noisy mode or. Quiet mode and Noisy mode. Some also have manual volume controls.

How to Choose Hearing Aids
Battery Run Time

Which programs will suit your lifestyle?

4. Battery Run Time

What is the battery run time for the device? This can range anywhere from 2-4 hours. 20-24 hours and 45-80 hours.

Are the batteries rechargeable? How long do they take to recharge? Is the charger portable? Does the device allow for a USB recharge? You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you run out of battery time and are unable to quickly recharge the device!

Physical Factors to Consider

How To Choose Hearing Aids

1. Shape and Size of Your Ear Canal

The shape and size of your ear canal can make a particular style difficult to wear for some people. For example, if you have an ear canal that is very narrow, you will find an in-the-canal device uncomfortable and not the best fit.

2. Does Your Minor Hearing Loss Affect One Ear or Both Ears?

How to Choose Hearing Aids
Ease of Amplifier Use

If your hearing loss affects only one of your ears, you may only require one hearing amplifier. Although age- and noise-related hearing loss tend to affect both ears, your hearing profile for each ear will likely be different.

Generally, a two-ear amplifier (binaural) is more effective. It helps to balance incoming sounds more easily and identify the direction it is coming from.

3. Ease of Amplifier Use

Note that smaller amplifiers while they are more discreet, are also the most difficult to operate. The larger, the instrument the easier it is to operate especially if you have dexterity issues.

4. Aesthetics of the Hearing Amplifier

Many people shy away from using hearing aids or amplifiers for as long as they can. This inaction sometimes cause further damage of their hearing simply because of they are concerned about the aesthetics or the “look” of these devices.

Fortunately, modern day hearing devices now come in different styles and sizes to accommodate lifestyle and fashion needs (Refer to a previous article – Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers – Are There Any?) Some devices simply fit very discreetly behind the ear, while other devices are almost completely hidden in the ear canal because they are so small, while others look like Bluetooth ear pads.

How Much Will My Hearing Amplifier Cost Me?

What factors have you selected from the listed criteria above? These factors define your requirements, and will result in a cost implication. You will find that you need to pay more for instruments with newer programmed technology designed for personal comfort, or ease of use.

Hearing aids are generally expensive because they must be certified as being safe before they can be sold in the marketplace. The prices reflect the research, technology and the quality of components used to build the device.

How to Choose Hearing Aids
Cost

These prices start from several hundred dollars and can run into thousands of dollars. Prices of the same product can also vary considerably between different hearing professionals. Why? Because the hearing professional needs to fit and program the instrument for the individual.

Hearing amplifiers are considerably a lot less expensive than hearing aids with prices rarely ranging above $300. The difference in prices between models in most cases are due to the factors discussed above.

Your hearing aid is therefore an investment in your quality of life and ability to actively engage in your activities, lifestyle, and relationships.

An Often Overlooked Factor – Warranty and Return Policy

Many people tend to overlook the importance of a warranty and return policy when they purchase their hearing device.

Most hearing aids come with a warranty and return guarantee because of their high costs. Not all hearing amplifiers do. Check for the following:

  • Length of the warranty
  • Details about what is covered and what is not
  • Whether replacement devices are issued
  • Return policy

Most reputable manufacturers usually provide a 30-day return policy.

In Conclusion

Buying a hearing device requires some upfront evaluation of your requirements based on your needs. This article provides guidance on how to choose hearing aids. Although the focus is on hearing amplifiers, the same criteria may be applied when choosing professionally recommended hearing aids.

The market is flooded with different kinds of hearing amplifiers. Following the guidelines in this article will ensure that you purchase a quality hearing amplifier that will meet your needs. Cheapest is not necessarily the best!

What are your thoughts about this? Leave your comments in the Comment box below.

References

Frank Lin & Luigi Ferruci (2012) Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_three_fold_risk_of_falling

6 thoughts on “How to Choose Hearing Aids. Do You Need Amplifiers?”

  1. Thank you very much for this detailed post about hearing aids. I had no idea that there are so many different sorts of them. Maybe because I still hear excellent and don’t need them now.
    But my mother needs hearing aids and is quite confused about what she should take. I am now investigating the internet for her, and I am pleased to find your website and your post.
    I will let her know, so she can find out what fits her. If I have questions, I would like to get in contact with you. May I do that?

    Reply
    • Hi Sylvia,
      Really glad you discovered the website. I am sure your mother will enjoy visiting as well as she will find lots of information about aging and aging products.
      Ceci

      Reply
  2. I think fate was meant to bring me to your article.

    I am completely deaf in my right ear. And I am having real difficulty with my left ear, the good ear. In fact, it’s so bad, that I had no choice but to get a hearing aid fitted around 5 years ago. But Guess that the technology is outdated and now I am struggling again.

    I got an appointment with my audiologist on Monday next week, and I am going to be trying out two new hearing aids.

    But now I am wondering after having read your article if I should try out the amplifiers.

    I am definitely going to mention it to her.
    Thanks for all the help.
    Regards
    Roopesh

    Reply
  3. Hi Ceci, great article. Very informative. I haven’t never done any hearing test but I did have a co-worker that uses those amplifiers and I become aware of them. Actually, I didn’t notice she was using one till she mentioned till and showed it to us. It was so discrete, imperceptible indeed. I think that counts as well, on top of all things you mentioned, like battery, shape, cost, and etc.

    When buying anything we need to inform ourselves first to make the right choice, and definitely, this article will help many people that need it. It is amazing to have those kind of technology available for who need it. Well done for the article.

    By the way, I like the name of your site 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi TGP,
      It is amazing the amount of technological enhancements available to those who need it. The difficulty comes from comparison and taking a decision on which to buy.

      I am delighted that you like the name of the site. I hope you will stop by again soon.

      Ceci

      Reply

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