hearing aid and amplifier

Hearing Aids vs. Hearing Amplifiers

In hearing aids by Candace Wawra

Candace Wawra

Hearing Health Provider and Owner at Hearing Wellness Solutions
Candace has been helping people with their hearing for more than ten years. She started her hearing journey working as an Audiology Assistant in a busy Ear, Nose and Throat office. Candace witnessed firsthand how she could enrich the lives of individuals and she found her passion. Candace decided to push further to learn. She received training from two Audiologists while she pursued and obtained her Missouri Hearing Instrument Specialist license.
Candace Wawra

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When referring to hearing healthcare, some people use hearing aids and hearing amplifiers or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) interchangeably. This can be a dangerous confusion and can be hazardous to those with hearing loss. It is imperative that consumers know and understand the similarities and key differences between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers.

Similarities Between Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers or PSAPs

Just about the only similarity between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers is that they both have the ability to make sounds louder and easier to hear. Really, that is it! The technology, purpose, and efficacy of these devices are all different from one another.

Differences Between Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers or PSAPs

Technology

There are many technological differences between these two types of devices. Hearing amplifiers and PSAPs take all of the noises around them (regardless of origin or original noise level) and simply make them louder. Hearing aids, on the other hand, are power packed with advanced features that adjust to different listening environments and pick and choose which input to amplify.

Simply put, hearing amplifiers and PSAPs utilize basic technology similar to that of a microphone, they take in nearby sounds and make them louder. Hearing aids are extremely advanced and can be tailored to the wearer’s needs. They can identify which sounds should or should not be amplified, can mitigate background and feedback sounds, and won’t amplify sounds that are already loud to dangerous levels.

Uses

Contrary to popular belief, hearing amplifiers and PSAPs should not be used for the same purposes. Hearing amplifiers and PSAPs should be only used by people without hearing loss to boost environmental sounds. For example, parents may use PSAPs to “keep an ear” on their children or babies in the next room, or avid birdwatchers may use the devices to better hear the chirping and tweeting of their beloved animals. Hearing amplifiers could also be used to better enjoy theatre or the opera if one is sitting far away from the origin of the music. These devices could also be helpful at large gatherings such a board meeting, where it may be difficult for everyone to hear all the speakers.

Hearing amplifiers and personal sound amplification products should not be used to help a person who experiences hearing loss. Doing so could actually be quite dangerous and could cause further damage to one’s hearing.

Hearing aids, on the other hand, are used to treat hearing loss. They are finely tuned to match a wearer’s unique hearing prescription. Hearing aids are equipped with advanced technology that knows which noises to amplify and which ones to mitigate. These devices are also able to determine when a sound is already loud enough, and will not further amplify these noises. Hearing aids can be programmed to perform differently in different environments for example they will amplify sounds differently at home then they would in a large worship service.

Cost

Because they are equipped with such advanced technology and are many times custom molded to fit your unique ears, hearing aids are understandably more expensive than simple amplification devices. Oftentimes, the cost of hearing aids causes people to decide to use hearing amplifiers as alternatives to hearing aids, although this is quite dangerous. After investing in hearing aids, many people feel the benefit to their quality of life far outweighs the financial cost of the hearing aids.

Do I Need Hearing Aids or a Hearing Amplification Device?

This is an important determination. Ask yourself the following questions.

– Has understanding conversations with my loved ones become more difficult and frustrating?
– Are my friends or family members often complaining that I am not “listening” to them?
– Do others often ask me to turn down the volume on my TV or radio?
– Does it feel like people are mumbling, and like I can hear them but just cannot understand them?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we recommend reaching out to our team at Hearing Wellness Solutions for a hearing test. You may be experiencing some of the early signs of hearing loss and may benefit from using hearing aids.

If you simply would like to better hear your kids in the next room or would like to better hear already very faint and soft sounds louder, an amplification system may meet your needs.

Hearing Wellness Solutions

To schedule a hearing test, contact us at Hearing Wellness Solutions today! Take steps to ensure your best hearing health today! We offer the highest quality hearing aids in Springfield, MO.