Are Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers The Same? - Attune
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Are Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers The Same?

Hearing Amplifiers and hearing aids

A quick Google search for “hearing amplifiers” will result in numerous sites selling hearing devices that claim to have miraculous benefits for hearing. 

So-called hearing amplifiers often look exactly like hearing aids but falsely claim similar features and results. 

So, today we will analyse the differences between the two to help you make an informed decision about your hearing health. 

Two Categories of Hearing Devices 

Hearing devices can be put into two categories, including

  • Personal sound amplifiers: Also known as Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAP). These are wearable electronic products intended to make all sounds louder for those who are hard of hearing. They are also often referred to as hearing amplifiers or sound amplifiers. 
  • Hearing aids: These are wearable electronic devices designed to improve hearing by making selected sounds audible to people with hearing loss. 

Hearing aids can be expensive, and the temptation to buy a cheap alternative is understandable. Although personal sound amplification products are marketed the same way as hearing aids, they are two completely different products. 

The Difference Between Hearing Aids and Personal Amplifiers

The difference between these products is their purpose. 

  • A hearing aid is designed for someone with hearing loss and is explicitly programmed to that person’s loss to help them effectively manage their hearing. 
  • Depending on which hearing aid you choose, the technology level will vary. However, all hearing aids are fitted by an audiologist who programs your hearing aids to your hearing test results. 

Hearing aids are made up of three components: 

  1. Microphone: The microphone detects and converts sounds into an electric signal, which is sent to the processor or amplifier. 
  2. Processor/amplifier: The processor/amplifier takes the electric signal and converts it to a digital signal. At this point, adjustments can be made to precisely suit an individual’s hearing loss and needs. The sound is converted back to an analogue signal and sent to the receiver.
  3. Receiver: The receiver changes the signal to an enhanced, audible sound for the individual to hear and enjoy.

Unlike hearing aids, a personal hearing amplifier is designed for someone with normal hearing. It is only to be used when only a small amount of sound amplification is needed, such as when watching TV. Hearing amplifiers only amplify sound; they do not separate speech from noise and aren’t customised to compensate for individual hearing loss. 

Which One Do I Need

Which One Do I Need?

Before deciding whether you need a personal amplifier or hearing aid, you need to determine whether you have a hearing loss and, if so, the nature and degree of the loss. The support required is based on the sounds you can’t hear, so the first thing to do is book a comprehensive hearing test. 

At Attune, we will test how you hear across various frequencies and determine what type of hearing loss you have. Getting a hearing test is essential because the more accurately the device understands what sounds you cannot hear, the better the sound quality and the more beneficial. 

In short, if you have hearing loss, the best solution is to get a hearing aid. On the other hand, if you have normal hearing but like things a bit louder, a personal amplifier is right for you. 

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Personal Amplifier

Rozette Rago

Source: Rozette Rago

Even when used correctly, there are some areas of concern worth noting before purchasing a personal amplifier. Despite being designed for those with normal hearing, they have access to volume control, which can lead to damaged hearing through overamplification. 

If your hearing loss is apparent but has remained unidentified, a personal amplifier is highly unlikely to be providing the right volume at the correct frequencies. 

Purchasing a Hearing Aid 

Purchasing a Hearing Aid

When purchasing a hearing aid in Australia, you can rest assured it’ll be appropriately fitted and programmed specifically for your hearing loss. If you aren’t sure what type of hearing aid you’d like, your audiologist will discuss the benefits of each hearing aid type depending on your hearing loss and style preferences. 

Once you have chosen a hearing aid, your audiologist will provide you with all the information you need to operate the hearing aid confidently.

Hearing amplifiers

In Summary

As mentioned numerous times throughout this article, hearing aids are not amplifiers and hearing amplifiers are definitely not hearing aids! 

A hearing aid is a hearing device for someone with hearing loss and is a significant investment, but one that will enable you to listen to the things you couldn’t before, providing life-changing results. 

On the other hand, hearing amplifiers are for those with normal hearing and only need to amplify sounds, such as when watching TV. 

If you aren’t sure whether to get a hearing aid or hearing amplifier, the first thing to determine if you have a hearing loss is by booking a comprehensive hearing test at your nearing Attune clinic. 

You can book an appointment online or contact us on 1300 736 702. To learn more about hearing tests or hearing aids in general, you can visit our website. We look forward to helping you towards better hearing! 

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