What are hearing amplifiers?

Hearing amplifiers, also known as Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAPs), are a popular way of enhancing hearing. They’re different from hearing aids, despite the misconceptions which lead to people believing that hearing aids and amplifiers serve the same purpose. Those suffering from hearing loss would be better suited to hearing aids.

Why would I need a hearing amplifier?

Hearing amplifiers come in handy for those who suffer impaired, so long as they aren’t suffering from hearing loss. They amplify sounds, so suit those who want to hear with better quality.

Hearing amplifiers are for people who aren’t hard of hearing. They aren’t suffering from any loss of sound or frequency. An amplifier can be used to enhance or boost sound, but not as a treatment for hearing loss.

Uses for a hearing amplifier

You could use a hearing amplifier for your recreational purposes/ for ease or convenience. Some of the usages for a hearing amplifier could be:

  • Birdwatching
  • Baby monitors
  • Amplifying TV/radio volumes
  • Amplifying music
  • Theatre

Are there risks using an amplifier?

Because of the misconceptions surrounding hearing amplifiers, it’s possible that many people may try to use them as a cheaper alternative to hearing aids. This is to be avoided; it can lead to the potential for danger.

The key point is that while PSAPs are frequently used by people with hearing loss, they are not substitutes for hearing aids. 

Using a hearing amplifier as a substitute for a hearing aid doesn’t fix any impairments, which could lead to harm. No problem is being solved or addressed.

Incorrectly using an amplifier as a hearing aid could also lead to potential deterioration of the ear drums or cause damage through incorrect usage.

This is because if you find yourself using a hearing amplifier for the purpose of compensating for hearing loss, you may be delaying getting treatment for a serious condition. Delaying your diagnosis or treatment could mean your hearing loss gets worse or leads to other complications.

How do I know what to use?

A hearing aid is for hearing impairments. This is usually detected when you’re showing signs of hearing loss such as:

  • Straining to hear regular sounds
  • You need the TV or radio turned up louder than others do
  • You can’t hear certain high-pitched frequencies or a dripping faucet
  • People tend to repeat themselves or shout when talking to you
  • You are shouting when talking to people

You should see a doctor who will prescribe the correct tests to determine whether you need a hearing aid.

Hearing amplifiers, on the other hand, provide benefit when used sparingly for certain activities. They should not be used to compensate for lack of hearing or impairment in one or both ears.

How do the two differ?

Hearing aids amplify sound, just as hearing amplifiers do. Hearing aids are programmed specifically using prescriptive methods to exactly correct an individual's hearing loss. A good analogy would be the difference between prescription eye glasses and reading glasses bought at a drugstore.

If you’re suffering from hearing loss/any of the above symptoms, it’s worth getting checked by a medical professional to see if you have a hearing impairment which could be benefited by the use of hearing aids.

Delaying diagnosis and treatment won’t be beneficial in the long run. It’s always important to note the differences between hearing aids and amplifiers, so you don’t end up struggling further down the line.

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