If you’re not familiar with them, then at first glance, you might think that ‘hearing amplifiers’ is another term for hearing aids. But it’s not. Hearing amplifiers are something completely different. And depending on your circumstances, you will need either one or the other.
So what are hearing amplifiers, and why might you need them? And should you get hearing amplifiers or hearing aids? Let’s find out.
Difference Between Hearing Amplifiers and Hearing Aids
Everyone’s familiar with hearing aids, even if you don’t know exactly how they work. They’re small devices that sit either on the outside of the ear, or in the ear canal. They pick up sounds with a microphone, and amplify them either digitally or with a regular analog amplifier (if they’re old fashioned!)
They then play the sound back through a speaker, which is like a single earphone. Depending on your circumstances, you may need either one or two hearing aids to help you hear as normal.
Hearing aids are designed for people with mild to severe hearing loss. This hearing loss can be acquired all at once, e.g. in an accident. Or, it may develop over decades working in a noisy industry without ear protectors. But either way, this is the main reason why hearing aids are different to hearing amplifiers.
What Are Hearing Amplifiers?
Hearing amplifiers are like hearing aids, but are a little different. Like hearing aids, they help you hear better. Like hearing aids, they sit on or in your ear, taking in sound and making it louder so that you can hear it better.
Hearing amplifiers even look the same as hearing aids. If you look in online marketplaces, you’ll see a lot of products marketed as hearing amplifiers that look the same and promise the same things as hearing aids do. This can be a source of confusion if you try to buy hearing aids online, rather than from an audiologist.
But what they do and how they do it is different. Hearing amplifiers are like the hearing aids of old: they take in any and all sound, make it a little louder, and play it into your ear. This helps you hear a little better.
The issue is that a hearing amplifier can’t distinguish between sounds. So, they can help you hear the conversation you’re listening to a little better. The person’s voice will be louder, and so easier to hear. But every other noise nearby will be louder too.
That’s why hearing amplifiers are only recommended if you don’t have an underlying hearing issue. If you have a slight, generalized hearing loss, then hearing amplifiers work well. But hearing loss typically only affects part of the hearing range, so what you’ll hear with these devices are loud deep or high pitched noises which you really don’t want.
Do I Need a Hearing Aid or a Hearing Amplifier?
You need professional help to find out which kind of hearing device you need. That’s because hearing loss can only be correctly identified by a professional audiologist. While you may be able to tell that your hearing isn’t quite as good as it used to be, that’s not enough.
This isn’t a question that you can answer on your own. It is possible to put yourself through an online hearing test, but there are several reasons why you should consider seeing a professional:
- The test can take a while to perform fully
- You need somebody to plot the results and interpret them
- The site may not be set up by somebody who actually knows about hearing problems
If you skimp out on the test, you won’t know how your hearing has been affected. If you then use a hearing aid or hearing amplifier, it could further damage your hearing. That’s because the noise your hearing aid/amplifier is making would be too loud, as it’s not set up for you. An audiologist would set your device up correctly instead.
Besides that, you won’t benefit from the advice of a qualified professional. An audiologist can tell you how to clean your hearing device, get warranty on it, keep it safe, learn how to use it correctly, and more.
You may think that seeing an audiologist is formal and serious, like seeing a doctor. In a way, it is; but the pros at KingSandia are professional and understanding. And don’t worry, because the process is surprisingly simple.
How to Get a Hearing Aid or Hearing Amplifier
Here’s how it works. The audiologist will have you sit in a room, usually with a pair of big headphones on. This room will be sound proofed, so that while the hearing test is ongoing, all you’ll be able to hear is the test itself.
The audiologist will then play a series of sounds through the hearing aids. These sounds will be at different pitches and at different volumes. They will also play the sounds into both ears, and then into each ear individually. You have to indicate whether you can hear the sound or not. The audiologist will plot the results, and figure out whether your hearing is worse than average.
If your hearing is impaired in some way, it’s not normally full impairment. So, for example, one ear might have hearing loss while the other doesn’t. This is surprisingly common, because damage can easily occur to only one eardrum and not the other.
Or, you may have hearing loss at only a certain level (i.e. low pitched or high pitched noises). Again, this is more common than you might think. There’s a world of difference between mild hearing loss of this nature and a profound deafness.