Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers. How Useful Are They?

A mild hearing loss does not in most cases require an expensive pair of hearing aids. The good news is that you can buy affordable top rated hearing amplifiers at a much lower cost than hearing aids.

Many seniors suffer in silence simply because they are afraid of the cost of acquiring a hearing aid or are in denial about their condition. Consequently, they continue to push a visit to the doctor further and further to the “back burner”. This certainly affects their quality of life. The question is why anyone should suffer this way?

How Do I Know that I Am Truly Experiencing Hearing Loss?

Because hearing loss is a gradual process, it can sometimes go unnoticed for a long period of time. Age related hearing loss generally begins at around age 40, with about 49% of people being affected, with this increasing to about 80% by age 59 (NIDCD 2012 , Resnick, S et al. 2014)

More than 60% of Americans over age 70 have significant hearing loss, with only a tiny fraction of those who need hearing aids selecting to buy them (New York Times 2016)

People with uncorrected hearing loss, have a three-fold risk of suffering falls, broken bones, and a reduced quality of life because of depression and social isolation. (Lin F & Ferruci L, 2012).

So What is the Difference Between A Hearing Amplifier (PSAP)and a Hearing Aid?

Hearing Amplifiers

An electronic amplifier is an electronic device that can increase the power of a signal (a time-varying voltage or current). Hearing amplifiers (also known as personal sound amplification products – PSA or PSAP) make all the sounds in an environment louder. They are good for anyone who just wants to hear things louder. The FDA however, does not recognize them as medical devices.

Audiologists do not prescribe hearing amplifiers or any product that is not FDA-regulated to treat hearing loss.

In essence, hearing amplifiers can be likened to over-the-counter devices you can buy to enhance and amplify sounds you can hear around you. Buying a PSAP without doing some research is not recommended. Fortunately, you are already doing so since you reading this article. Furthermore, target users typically should have mild hearing loss.

Consider the following factors prior to selecting a brand to buy

  • your lifestyle,
  • physiology of your ear and canal,
  • technology needs – why you need them,
  • aesthetics,
  • ease of use and
  • your budget.

This article provides you with some top-rated hearing amplifiers in a quick comparative review. More detailed reviews can be found under the Review section of this website. Formally, many hearing amplifiers did not have noise canceling, but advancement in technology have addressed this.

Hearing Aids

A hearing aid is a device designed to improve hearing by making sound audible to a person with hearing loss. Hearing aids are classified as medical devices, are regulated by the FDA to ensure patient safety, and need to be fitted by an audiologist or hearing aid specialist. 

Hearing aids are programmable medical devices that treat hearing loss. These medical devices must be programmed by licensed professionals based on an individual’s audiogram.

Make sure you clearly understand the differences. Why? Some manufacturers refer to their devices in the description as both a hearing aid AND a hearing amplifier. This can be confusing. For emphasis, only hearing aids receive regulatory approval and are programmable.

Do I Need a Hearing Aid or Hearing Amplifier (PSAP)?

The only way to find out which of these devices you need is to get your hearing tested, especially if you have difficulty understanding conversation or find yourself constantly increasing the volume on the television to near maximum.

Your hearing ability is specific to you, so your hearing loss will also be unique. A hearing test conducted by an audiologist or hearing aid specialist will provide details of your hearing ability. These results are plotted on a chart (audiogram) to help visualize and interpret your hearing ability.

The results also serve as a prescription. An audiologist or hearing aid specialist uses it to customize your hearing aids to your specific needs.

When a hearing aid is not prescribed (such as a hearing amplifier), it is still best practice to get an annual hearing evaluation. Firstly, this can help eliminate any serious underlying condition. Furthermore, it can help in the selection of an appropriate amplifier. This test will also detect if changes have occurred in hearing ability that may now require a fitted hearing aid.

Top-Rated Hearing Amplifiers

The marketplace is saturated with all kinds of hearing amplifiers – all with different specifications which can be confusing. There are only a handful of top-rated hearing amplifiers. We waded through a mountain of products to provide you with some online top-rated consumer product reviews .

Note that while every effort was made to ensure consistency in the criteria used for comparison, some products were lacking in manufacturer detail about their weight or warranties.

Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers
Maxi Classic BE2020-04 Personal Amplifier with Headphones

A roundup overview is provided below. The right personal hearing amplifier can change your quality of life by helping you to enjoy and engage in conversations,

TOP RATED HEARING AMPLIFIERS – HEADPHONE STYLE

1. BELLMAN & SYMFON Maxi Classic BE2020-04 Personal Amplifier with Headphones

Product details

  • Warranty – 2 years for the amplifier; Accessories – 90days
  • Use: One to one or in small groups
  • Product Weight: Unspecified
  • Batteries: 2 AA alkaline batteries required (Included) & Provide up to 150 hours operation
  • Microphone: 1 x omnidirectional
  • Maxi Classic features large buttons, soft grip materials, high contrast indicators, and one button – one function features that make it very easy to use even for those with low vision or limited dexterity.
  • Digital with noise reduction
  • Built-in Telecoil also works with loop systems in many theaters, concert halls, and churches etc.
  • The stereo Headphones included in this package feature semi-closed drivers that deliver clear sound that are comfortable to wear even for a long time.
  • Connects to your TV or Stereo
  • Mobile connectivity via 3.5mm audio jac (purchased seperately)
  • Options for purchase for a Unit: Headphones, Earbuds, Neckloop, Stetoclips
  • Convenient, Unit easily clips to pocket or belt. Volume Control on Unit.
  • Can be used for mild hearing loss? YES
  • Hearing aid compatible

2. BELLMAN & SYMFON Mino BE2030-A-01 Personal Amplifier with Earbuds and Microset

Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers
BELLMAN & SYMFON Mino BE2030-A-01 Personal Amplifier with Earbuds and Microset

Product details

  • Warranty – 2 years for the amplifier; Accessories – 90days
  • Use: One to one, in small groups or on the go communication
  • Product Weight: 2.5 oz
  • Batteries: Rechargeable Lithium Battery & Provide up to 29 hours operation
  • Microphone: 1 x omnidirectional: 1 x directional microphone which can further reduce the background noise from the back and the sides and bring out the words loud and clear
  • It is slim and lightweight, with the specially designed Microset accessory and you can put Mino into your pocket but still hear the conversation which is great also for outdoors.
  • No Menus to learn; one button-one function
  • Digital with noise reduction
  • Built-in Telecoil also works with loop systems in many theaters, concert halls, and churches etc.
  • The stereo Headphones included in this package feature semi-closed drivers that deliver clear sound that are comfortable to wear even for a long time.
  • Connects to your TV or Stereo
  • Mobile connectivity via 3.5mm audio jac (purchased seperately)
  • Options for purchase for a Unit: Headphones, Earbuds, Neckloop, Stetoclips
  • Convenient, Unit easily clips to pocket or belt. Volume Control on Unit.
  • Can be used for mild hearing loss? YES
  • Hearing aid compatible
Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers
BELLMAN & SYMFON Response Amplifier with Earbuds – BE1053-01

3. BELLMAN & SYMFON Response Amplifier with Earbuds – BE1053-01

Sound amplifier, with stereo earbuds to minimize sound leakage

Product details

  • Product Weight: Unspecified
  • Use: Home and professional
  • Most affordable Bellman & Symfon personal amplifier.
  • Lightweight, discreet, and specifically designed to pick up one-on-one conversations.
  • Simple buttons where each one controls only one feature with no complex menus for you to learn.
  • Batteries: 1 X AAA, 100 hours listening power
  • The stereo Earbuds in this package are discrete and feature closed drivers to minimize sound leakage and risk of feedback.
  • Convenient, Unit clips to pocket, belt or garment
  • Use TV Cable (sold separately) to connect to the TV or radio
  • Options for purchase for a Unit: Headphones or Earbuds,
  • The Response Personal Amplifier is a good option as an entry-level of hearing amplifier for people who are experiencing hearing loss.
  • Can be used for mild hearing loss? YES

TOP RATED HEARING AMPLIFIERS – TRADITIONAL STYLE

4. JINGHAO Rechargeable Personal Listening Enhancer Device for Seniors and Adult Electronic Portable Magnetic Contact Charging Case with Charging Case, 1 Pair

Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers
JINGHAO Rechargeable Personal Listening Enhancer Device

Product details

  • Product Weight – Unspecified
  • The ergonomic and lightweight design ensures a comfortable fit and that you will not feel tired however long you listen.
  • Uses: Everyday listening, restaurants/outdoors, telephone conversations
  • 3 Working Modes (Normal/ Noisy/ Telephone) switching to meet different environments. Has the function of remembering settings. The mode and volume used last time will still be used next time you turn it on.
  • Frequency Response Range: 450Hz to approx 4000Hz
  • Portable Carrying Charging Case
  • Charge for 2 Hours for 20 Hours of working time. Charge anytime and anywhere.
  • Noise reduction

5. WiderSound® C100 – CIC Invisible Rechargeable Hearing Aid Pair

Product details

Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers
WiderSound® C100 – CIC Invisible Rechargeable Hearing Aid Pair

Each WiderSound® C100 hearing device:

  • Size: 0.7 x 0.47 inches in size (1.8cm x 1.2cm) – tiny and fits comfortably in the ears. Is almost impossible to see from the front
  • Has powerful rechargeable technologyFull charge in under 4 hours , 48 hours of use. Unit battery built to last 4-5 years.
  • Is suitable for mild-to-severe hearing loss. 
  • Programmed smart noise reduction and automatically isolates sounds such as speech, music and TV.
  • No apps or complicated tools – just follow the instructions in user manual.
  • Cost effective
  • Warranty: Unspecified
  • Color : Red for Right Ear, Blue for Left Ear

6. JINGHAO Hearing Aids Rechargeable Sound Amplifiers with USB Charging Case in The Ear Hearing Assist Looks Like Bluetooth Earbud, 1 Pair(White)

Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers
JINGHAO Hearing Aids Rechargeable Sound Amplifiers with USB Charging Case in The Ear Hearing Assist Looks Like Bluetooth Earbud, 1 Pair(White)

Product details

  • Batteries : 1 Lithium ion battery required (included)
  • Lightweight
  • Fashionable – looks like Bluetooth Earbud (1 Pair)
  • 1 year warranty
  • For Mild hearing loss – YES
  • Rechargeable – USB charging / Portable charging case
  • Noise reduction

Conclusion

If you have very mild hearing loss, use of a hearing amplifier can be beneficial as you possibly do not want to expend several hundreds or thousands of dollars on a programmable hearing aid. BUT it is recommended, and best practice, to have a professional hearing test done prior to going out to purchase an amplifier. This is to rule out the presence of any medical indications. Without a hearing test, you could risk worsening your mild hearing loss.

There is a mountain of hearing amplifiers that may be purchased online. Some are more popular than others, but there are generally only a handful of top rated hearing amplifiers that consumers have found useful for mild hearing loss.

When searching for hearing amplifiers, you really have to be on guard about the difference between a hearing aid and a hearing amplifier as some manufacturers use those terms interchangeably. Some hearing amplifiers are also advertised as ” FDA approved”. This tends to murky the waters. Remember – Only hearing aids are certified and approved by the FDA and are programmable to individual needs.

References

Susan Resnick et al (2014) Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_accelerated_brain_tissue_loss_

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

New York Times A Push for Less Expensive Hearing Aids (2016) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/health/a-push-for-less-expensive-hearing-aids.html

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders – NIDCD (2012) https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/age-which-hearing-loss-begins

12 thoughts on “Top Rated Hearing Amplifiers. How Useful Are They?”

  1. First of all, I want to say thanks for sharing this post. I’m pleased to see that you have included a few sections that help to determine the difference between a Hearing Amplifier (PSAP)and a Hearing Aid. I find this section extremely important.

    Secondly, your suggestions seem like a great deal. My mom suffers from a gradual hearing loss but she’s too proud to consider one of these devices. I’ll show her your list here and maybe she will change her mind about it. Thanks again for sharing this extremely helpful content!

    Reply
  2. Hi Ceci,

    Thanks for showing us your recommendations for hearing amplifiers that we could purchase online. I worried about the past design since the old models look bigger and not easy to carry. From your sharing, some of them are very light, and the last one looks like a pair of wireless earphones, which resembles mine, to be honest.
    I agree with you that if people want to purchase hearing amplifiers, it’s a must to go to doctors with a professional hearing test to know which products suit them. So, I see that you are providing an honest suggestion and great value to your readers today.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    Reply
    • Yes Matt, there are some newer model ear phone type hearing amplifiers that look amazing. In fact, no-one will know that they are hearing aids, and if they do, they’ll think you are quite classy!
      Ceci

      Reply
  3. Wow
    Great article. I never knew anything about hearing amplifiers at all and I have learnt that there is a difference between them and hearing aids.
    Can hearing amplifiers be used by any person or are they to be used only be people who have experienced hearing loss?
    As you said that one needs to do a test to check they need amplifiers I just would like to know that.

    Reply
    • It is always a good idea to get a professional test done before buying hearing amplifiers, even though you do not require a prescription to buy one. The reason being to ensure that you do not have an underlying condition that needs to be professionally treated.
      Ceci

      Reply
  4. Very interesting article. My husband served 27 years in the Canadian military and has experienced hearing loss. He does wear hearing aids which Veterans Affairs provides for him. In his case, I don’t think hearing amplifiers would have helped since his hearing was damaged as a result of a tank firing while he was inside another nearby tank repairing their comms equipment. It is amazing his eardrums weren’t damaged by that level of sound percussion. I was not aware there was something like these hearing amplifiers. I would have recommended them to my father had I known about them sooner as he had mild hearing loss and was constantly increasing the volume on the television. Thanks for educating us, please keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • Hearing Aids need to be prescribed and fitted by a professional, while hearing amplifiers are very much “over the counter” purchases not requiring prescription or fitting by an audiologist. Hearing amplifiers as you rightly commented are helpful to people with mild hearing loss.
      Ceci

      Reply
  5. I remember my father a few years back now, suffering from hearing loss and the fact that he was too proud to go and see a professional about it.

    We thought that he was just ignoring people but eventually he did go and see someone and the hearing aids he was prescribed you didn’t even know he was wearing them.

    However, this did give him a new lease of life and for the first time in a few years, I could actually have a proper conversation with him.

    With him, it was all about other people knowing that he was wearing aids but the ones he had you just couldn’t see them.

    Obviously the smaller the more expensive.

    Looking at the ones in this article I see that the battery life isn’t too great but I guess you get what you pay for.

    Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  6. Hi Ceci,

    I, like many others, have a grandparents that let’s his pride get in the way of considering a hearing aid. I wish there was something more we could do to help them overcome that pride and just understand our bodies are vessels and it’s aging process does not define us in our ladder years. I am happy to share this article with him! But unfortunately it will be for informational use only as I tried clicking on the links and could not be redirected to the product because it’s for Amazon.ca.

    Reply
    • Hi Haley,
      I don’t understand what you mean by being unable to be re-directed to the product on Amazon. I have checked the links and they work. I am so sorry about that. I suggest that you get your grandparents to subscribe to the newsletter and as they continue to read about changes associated with aging, they will begin to understand the need for hearing aids.

      Ceci

      Reply

Leave a Comment

error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Pinterest
fb-share-icon
Follow by Email
RSS
error: Content is protected !!