Are Buying a Hearing Aid or Amplifier?

The average person waits 7–10 years after first experiencing symptoms before seeking professional help for hearing loss. Research shows those with untreated hearing loss have an increased risk of depression, falls, and memory loss. If you notice hearing loss it can seem overwhelming trying to decide where to reach out for help. Everywhere you look you see ads for hearing aids, amplifiers, over the counter hearing aids, mail order hearing aids/amplifiers. And prices can range from $99 to $9999! Where do you start? 

Let’s talk about the options. Hearing amplifiers are sold over the counter. Anyone can buy one, no hearing test required. They increase the volume of ALL sounds, not just sounds that you are missing due to hearing loss. People often complain of being overwhelmed by sound when using amplifiers. This is likely due to being overamplified in areas where your hearing is pretty good.  

Over the counter (OTC) hearing aids are available in stores, or online. They are FDA approved for adults and indicated for perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. The purchaser is responsible for setting the OTC device up, including fitting/sizing and tuning in the sound. Although no hearing test is required, it is in your best interest to have a test. While OTC is indicated for mild to moderate hearing loss, many people do not even recognize they have hearing loss until the loss is moderate or moderately severe. You live with the gradual change day to day and are not objective about it. Often hearing loss makes it sound like people are mumbling, when it is your hearing that causes that. OTC might be an option if you are comfortable using a smart phone and can manage the hearing aids without help. Unfortunately, OTC devices are being offered at higher prices than we had hoped when they were first approved. You would be well advised to shop around for pricing on OTC and prescription fit hearing aids to find the best value for your money.  

Prescription fit hearing aids are tuned to your specific hearing loss. They may have additional features, such as Bluetooth compatibility, noise suppression to help with background noise, fall detection, and tinnitus masking. With most prescription fit hearing aids, you can choose how much control you have over the hearing aids, if you want them connected to a cell phone, or if you just want them to do their job without any interference from you!  Prescription fit hearing aids will likely give you the greatest longevity to accommodate future change in your hearing.  

If you choose prescription fit aids, please see an Audiology Doctor, not a Hearing Aid salesman. 

Do your research and ask questions. While many OTC hearing aids are starting at around $1000 a pair and up, Gardner Audiology has prescription fit hearing aids at $1090 a pair and up! If you live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida call 1-800-277-1182 to schedule an appointment at one of our ten locations today!  You can email or visit www.gardneraudiology for more information about hearing loss and hearing aids.   

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