You may hear the terms “sound amplifier” and “hearing device” used interchangeably. But, they are not the same. How can you tell the difference? And, which one do you need? This is how to choose between sound amplifiers and hearing devices.
Personal Sound Amplifier: Defined
Technically, a personal sound amplifier is any type of device you put on your ears to amplify sounds. They are usually for people who have normal hearing and need sounds amplified. In most cases, sound amplifiers make all sounds louder to you. The reasons you would need one are situational.
Hearing Aids: Defined
On the other hand, hearing aids are special devices for people who are hearing impaired. They amplify certain sounds, not all sounds. In addition, a hearing aid is custom-fit to your ear. And, an audiologist needs to evaluate your hearing loss to receive one.
How to Choose Between the Two
Maybe you are tempted to buy a sound amplifier over a hearing aid device because they are more inexpensive. But, if you are hearing impaired that would be a mistake for many reasons.
First, sound amplifiers are not hearing aids. As such, they are not approved to be used as medical devices by the FDA. Among the many reasons you want a certified medical device, a major one is insurance coverage.
Next, as previously mentioned sound amplifiers make all sounds louder. That includes ambient and background noise. On the other hand, hearing aids differentiate between sounds. And, they amplify accordingly. For instance, hearing aids make it easier to hear and interpret speech.
Lastly, hearing aids are adjusted for your personal hearing needs. Audiologists decipher your needs through a hearing evaluation. If you are a hearing aid candidate, they will adjust the hearing aid for your specific hearing needs.
There is nothing wrong with sound amplifiers so long as you use it for its intended purposes. Knowing how to choose between sound amplifiers and hearing devices involves understanding why you really need to hear better. Is it because of genuine hearing loss, or for situational purposes?