The Difference Between Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers

By 2050, the World Health Organization predicts that 900 million people worldwide will experience some degree of hearing loss. Given this statistic, it means that an increasing number of us will be reliant on hearing aids to help improve their hearing.

But what can hearing amplifiers do to improve your hearing, and how are they different to hearing aids? This guide to hearing aids and hearing amplifiers will tell you everything you need to know.

900 million

By 2050, the WHO predicts that 900 million people worldwide will experience hearing loss.

Hearing aids versus hearing amplifiers

When your ears are working properly, they do an amazing job at picking up sounds. Both hearing amplification devices and hearing aids can do exactly the same and help you hear sounds, but that’s where the similarities end. Hearing aids and hearing amplifiers use the similar technology, but are two very different devices with different purposes.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are designed for people with a degree of hearing loss such as sensorineural hearing loss. They are professionally fitted by a licensed hearing care professional and fine-tuned to your specific hearing requirements, helping to mitigate your hearing loss by boosting certain frequencies.

Hearing amplifiers

Hearing amplifiers, meanwhile, are designed for people who are not hard of hearing. People with normal hearing can use an amplifier to boost the sound levels around them – for instance, while watching television or helping you to keep track of children in another room. They can also be used to enhance the sound quality of activities such as birdwatching. Hearing amplification devices are not a replacement for hearing aids and using an amplifier instead of a hearing aid could be harmful, particularly if you have frequency-specific hearing loss.

Which is right for you?

If you are interested in getting a hearing amplifier, think about why you want to buy it. If you want to use it to assist with childcare or birdwatching, for instance, it may be a good choice for you. If you want to buy a hearing amplifier with the hope of it mitigating your hearing loss, this will not solve your hearing problem. A full hearing evaluation is necessary to diagnose hearing loss. Leaving your hearing loss untreated can lead to further deterioration and the difference between mild and severe hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss

If you have normal hearing, hearing amplifiers can be a good option, but it’s not always easy to know what is considered normal. If you don’t have any degree of hearing loss, then there is nothing stopping you buying amplifiers to use occasionally. However, if you experience any of the following signs of hearing loss, then you need to consider a hearing aid rather than an amplifier:

  • Sounds seem muffled
  • Struggling to follow conversations
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV
  • Having difficulty hearing in noisy or crowded environments
  • Lip-reading to follow conversations
  • Avoiding social events

If you experience any of these signs, then it is time to get your hearing tested with a licensed hearing care professional.

Other ways you can amplify sounds

Alongside hearing amplifiers, there is a wide variety of hearing amplification devices available that can enhance the way you listen to sound.

Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are just like hearing amplifiers and will deliver amplified sounds. They are available as TV headphones, neckloops and wireless listeners. If you have hearing loss, they can help improve how well you can hear your favorite music television shows and add clarity to speech.

Amplified telephones

These telephones are designed for people with hearing loss, and provide much higher volumes than standard home phones. They offer a much louder ringer and the voice volume enables you to communicate better.

Extra loud alarm clocks

When you begin to experience hearing loss, you may find that you don’t always hear your alarm clock. However, there are loud alarm clocks now available for people with reduced hearing (and those who struggle to wake up in the morning!). With a much louder ringtone than standard alarm clocks, you can combine it with flashing lights and vibrating pads to ensure you wake up when you need to.

While hearing aids and hearing amplifiers may initially seem very similar, they couldn’t be more different. One is a recommended treatment for hearing loss, while the other is solely intended for recreational use for people with normal hearing. Investing in an amplifier rather than a hearing could seem like a quick way to hearing properly again, but it might do you more harm than good.

With you on your journey to better hearing.

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