Hearing Aids vs Hearing Amplifiers - What’s the Difference?
The sounds we hear through our ears and interpret in our brains have three components that help us identify them. Firstly, they need to be sufficiently loud for our ear drums to detect them. Secondly, they have a wide range of pitches that enable our brains to distinguish between them.
However, perhaps the silences between the sounds are the most important of all. That’s because they separate noises into discrete bites of information. Here we think of momentary pauses between words, and silences between notes of music without which both would be meaningless blurs.
Hearing aids and hearing amplifiers may both help people comprehend these chains of sound. However, we need to understand what comprehension means in the mind of the individual user, when comparing hearing aids vs hearing amplifiers in terms of their benefits.
Hearing Aids vs Hearing Amplifiers in the Mind of the User
Audiologists describe deafness as an inability to understand words, although that could also mean inability to discriminate between birds calls too. When considering the differences between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers, we should ask ourselves what makes these things difficult for us to understand:
1… Are the sounds so quiet we can’t make them out, or hear them at all?
2… Are we aware of the sounds, but unable to distinguish their meanings?
Hearing amplifiers increase the loudness of sounds around us. Hearing aids can increase volume too. However, they also process the quality of sounds so our brains can tell us what they mean.
Personal Sound Amplification Products (AKA Hearing Amplifiers)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says amplifiers increase environmental sounds for non-hearing-impaired consumers. Their role is to achieve this in ‘specific listening situations as opposed to multiple listening situations’. The latter applies to hearing aids but more about that later.
Personal sound amplification products are therefore not intended to compensate for hearing loss. They merely increase sound volumes for people with average-to-good hearing. The following are examples of situations where they add value:
1… Bird watchers listening for soft calls a distance away in the wild
2… Students sitting in the back row of seats in a college lecture room
3… Audiences in galleries overlooking stages hosting live performances
It’s important to note hearing amplifiers cannot help deaf people understand those sounds better. This is the critical difference between hearing aids vs. hearing amplifiers. They each have their own task.
Some companies selling personal sound amplification devices unfortunately claim their products help deaf people too. They might help a person with normal hearing hear what a soft-spoken lecturer is saying, but that’s as far as it goes.
What Hearing Aids Are, and What the Good Ones Could Do for You
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) describes hearing aids as ‘wearable instruments … aiding persons with, or compensating for impaired hearing’. This is the most important attribute when comparing hearing aids vs. hearing amplifiers.
The FDA definition - and their regulations - apply to air- and bone-conduction hearing devices. Whether these are behind-the-ear, in-the-canal, cochlear implanted, or body-worn styles. All hearing aids sold in the United States must comply with their standards, and the market is under strict governmental control.
Hearing Aids vs Hearing Amplifiers – Could a Consumer Use Both?
There is nothing in the law to prevent a consumer owning both. However, this makes little sense under normal circumstances, because one or the other will usually be right for their need.
1… If your hearing ability is within normal range, then you may find hearing amplifiers helpful if you sit up late at night watching television while the rest of the family is trying to sleep
2… However, if your hearing is defective in term of your ability to comprehend sounds, then you need a pair of hearing aids which may not turn out nearly as expensive as you might expect.
Do You Have Difficulty Understanding What People Are Saying?
If your partner or best friend says you keep asking ‘what’s that’ then there’s a good possibility your hearing is defective. This happens to many of us in our middle age, but you could rectify this easily with a pair of our digital hearing aids.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers free digital hearing tests. We encourage you to take one so you know where you stand. But before you dash off have your heard of our special offer available to you right now?
Blue Angels Hearing has acquired more stock of digital, behind-the-ear hearing aids for customers with low to medium hearing loss. We sell them direct from our factory and thereby avoid the overheads that hearing aid store customers pay.
Our hearing aids are a brilliant opportunity to improve your hearing for just $197.00 including shipping for the pair. If you are interested, you’ll be glad to know there’s no discount on the quality of the product. The big difference is you don’t have to contribute to the cost overheads of a shop, when you order your hearing aids from Blue Angels direct.