Hearing aids and hearing amplifiers share a similar purpose, yet they are two very different devices. While hearing aids aim to serve those living with disabling hearing loss and are fitted to one’s specific needs, hearing amplifiers boost environmental sound and make all sounds louder. The latter should not be used instead of a hearing aid. Let’s look at some important differences between the two so that you might make a more informed decision for your hearing health.
Battle of the Tech
One significant difference between the two products is that the hearing amplifier, a personal sound amplifying product, or PSAP, is designed to increase environmental sounds for people without hearing loss. They do not filter sound or adjust for certain frequencies. In fact, they are often used as child monitors, during recreational outdoor activity, or at the theatre.
The technology is so convenient that some people have misused PSAPs as over-the-counter hearing aids. Audiologists and doctors have both advised against this as a cheap shortcut to investing in a certified hearing aid. Hearing aids are fitted to each user’s specific needs, as diagnosed by an audiologist or hearing health specialist. Amplifiers, on the other hand, turn the volume up on all environmental sound and are for use by people with a full range of hearing.
Dangers of Misuse
When used as it is intended by people with normal hearing, a hearing amplifier is as helpful and harmless as any other small appliance you might use on a daily basis. However, when substituted to perform the work of a hearing aid, an amplifier can be harmful. The problem of hearing loss is not being solved, let alone recognized. It can forestall a necessary visit to your hearing health professional to receive a thorough diagnosis of your hearing loss.
A hearing test can diagnose the degree of hearing loss and the necessary next steps toward better hearing health. The longer you wait to attend to your hearing loss, the greater the potential for further deterioration of your hearing.
Which Device is Best?
Before you purchase a PSAP, get as many facts as you can and ask yourself what uses it will serve for you. You could benefit from a hearing amplifier if it is simply for one or more of the uses mentioned above. If you are interested in one because you are having trouble hearing, then there may be a more serious concern.
Additionally, getting a hearing exam is never a bad idea before investing in this kind of technology. Helping you to hear better is at the core of each of these devices. How the technology inside each of them will do that is the important thing.
Schedule a hearing exam with an audiologist or a specialist Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences (BC-HIS). Any problems with your hearing will be displayed on an audiogram, a graph detailing the results of your hearing test for both ears. After a hearing exam, the audiologist can determine if a hearing aid is right for you and fit it to your specific needs.
Treat Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids
Hearing aids and personal amplifying sound products share a common goal, but the latter is intended for people with normal hearing. Audiologists and doctors in other medical fields have warned against using them in place of a hearing aid as it can be harmful to your hearing health. By ignoring hearing loss, you risk negatively affecting your cognitive ability and mental health. Since we also use our brain to hear, ignoring signs that you may have a hearing loss could be detrimental to certain brain functions. It also has adverse effects on the heart, when blood can’t flow from the heart to the inner ear.
Do not cut corners on your path to better hearing. It may do your hearing more harm than good. Use online tools to find a hearing screening you can take from the comfort of your home. For a comprehensive hearing test, contact us at Audibel.
Once you get your results from a thorough diagnosis at Audibel, our team will discuss how a hearing aid, fitted for your needs, can help you on your way to better hearing health.