Hearing Amplifiers and Hearing Aids

Personal Sound Amplifier

When it comes to hearing devices, there are various options for patients to choose from. Two popular devices are hearing amplifiers and hearing aids. Hearing amplifiers increase the volume of surrounding sounds at all frequencies. Hearing aids, on the other hand, optimize specific sounds that you have trouble hearing. This guide will teach you more about the differences between hearing amplifiers and hearing aids.

Understanding Hearing Amplifiers

Also known as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, hearing amplifiers work to amplify all the sounds in your surrounding area without isolating any specific frequencies. 

Recently, over-the-counter hearing amplifiers have become available to individuals with minor hearing difficulties. While these devices may not be as effective as other types of hearing tools, they can make it easier for some people to hear.

Who Should Use Hearing Amplifiers?

Hearing amplifiers are not intended for people with hearing loss. They are better suited for people with mild hearing impairment. Many people are aware that they have hearing impairment without an official diagnosis from an audiologist. These individuals can see positive results with certain over-the-counter hearing amplifiers. 

If you have mild difficulty hearing surrounding sounds in your daily life, a hearing amplifier may help. 

Understanding Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are electronic devices that enhance sounds for people with hearing loss. Hearing aids can be removable earpieces or surgically placed implants that amplify specific frequencies. They can be custom-made to treat varying levels of hearing loss, from mild to severe. 

Who Should Use Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are meant for anyone with diagnosed hearing loss. Most patients who seek hearing aids have moderate to significant hearing loss. If you have mild hearing loss, you may not be in need of a hearing device just yet. 

Hearing aids can work for various hearing loss types, including conductive hearing loss, single-sided deafness, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

The Benefits of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids present some benefits over hearing amplifiers because they come with unique structures and features. Hearing aids are highly customizable and come in  several types. 

The following are some of the most frequently used types of hearing aids:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)
  • Completely-in-the-canal (CITC)
  • Bone anchored implants
  • Cochlear implants

Each hearing aid is made to fit in or around the ear slightly differently. For example, completely-in-the-canal hearing aids fit deep inside the ear and are barely visible to the naked eye. 

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are one of the most popular types of hearing devices. BTE hearing aids are held in place by attachments that wrap around the back of the ear.

Hearing aids also come with innovative benefits and technology, including the following optional features:

  • Directional microphones
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Variable programming
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Direct audio input
  • Remote controls
  • Synchronization
  • Noise reduction
  • Telecoils

Your audiologist will work with you to determine which hearing aid features will benefit you. They can also help you choose the best hearing aid fit to meet your needs.

Which One Is Right for You?

When you notice that your hearing is not as good as it once was, you may be in need of hearing devices. Both hearing amplifiers and hearing aids can improve your hearing ability, but they work differently. Hearing amplifiers simply increase the level of the sounds around you, while hearing aids increase specific frequencies. 

Hearing amplifiers are a good choice for people with mild hearing impairment or self-diagnosed hearing difficulties. Hearing amplifiers are a viable option if you are interested in over-the-counter hearing devices. Hearing aids are the better option for people diagnosed with mild to significant hearing loss. 

If you’re not sure which type of hearing device is right for you, consult with an audiologist. The doctors of audiology at Happy Ears Hearing Center will evaluate your hearing impairment to determine the type and severity. Please schedule a consultation at one of our Arizona locations to find out more.