Coping with hearing loss as you get older can be trying. It’s difficult to even face up to the reality of your hearing loss, and once you’ve accepted it, it can be hard to understand. You suddenly have to take in a lot of information and make a decision about how to best compensate for your hearing loss.
Once you have had your hearing tested, you can talk to your doctor or audiologist for advice about devices that will help you to hear. You will have heard of hearing aids, but you might also have heard of personal sound amplifiers. But what are they, and should you buy one?
What is a Personal Sound Amplifier?
A personal sound amplifier is not the same thing as a hearing aid. People wear a personal sound amplifier in or on the ear. It amplifies sound so that you can watch TV quietly or perhaps hear children sleeping in the next room. They work by picking up noises with a microphone and amplifying the sound into your ear. They can be quite convenient for hearing noises no one would ordinarily be able to hear. Their intention is to give someone without hearing loss a kind of superpower of hearing, rather than make up for hearing loss.
What is a Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a medical device fitted in or on the ear that is designed to compensate for hearing loss. The technology in a hearing aid is much more advanced than in a personal sound amplifier, which is why they are more expensive. But the cost is worth it because they are specifically for hearing loss. On the other hand, compensating for hearing loss isn’t the primary purpose of a sound amplifier. When you go to an audiologist to have your hearing tested they will talk to you about your options for using a hearing aid, if you need one.
Should I Use Hearing Aids or a Personal Sound Amplifier?
With the rising cost of hearing aids, many people turn to personal sound amplifiers because they are a cheap alternative. But the truth is that the FDA released guidance in 2009 stating that personal sound amplifiers are not intended for use by people with hearing loss. However, people with mild hearing loss do sometimes choose to use them. If you have more serious hearing loss, you should definitely buy a hearing aid. Talk to your audiologist about your options.
How Can I Get the Best Hearing Aids?
The reason personal sound amplifiers attract many people is that they can be bought so readily for low prices. But this won’t get you a device tailored to your needs. If you want to make sure that you get a good deal on your hearing aid, make sure you buy your hearing aid from a professional clinician, so you get the best product for the price. They will have a range of hearing aids to suit different budgets and will also take care of cleaning and maintenance free of charge.