An audiologist compares two hearing aid models with a patient to help her determine the best option for her hearing needs

Last week a patient told me that if she lost her hearing aid, she would not invest in another one. She showed me an ad for an amplifier that cost a fraction of the investment she made in better hearing.

Products that can be ordered online or taken off the shelf at a local retail store may benefit a mild hearing loss, especially in a quiet environment. But when you turn up the volume, everything gets louder, just like the TV or radio. Louder isn’t always better. Hearing in noise is one of the biggest consumer complaints and that is where an amplifier will prove to be unsatisfactory.

Hearing is corrected by prescription, just like the fitting of eyeglasses. The final product is specially designed based on individual needs and measurements. If you’ve ever tried on someone else’s glasses, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

An Audiologist will take into consideration ear anatomy, acoustics, tolerance to loud sounds, speech in background noise, the areas where correction is needed, and whatever is necessary to design the best solution. The performance of any over the counter amplifier can be measured exactly like hearing aids are evaluated. The difference is that making adjustments on an amplifier is quite limited. One size fits most. We all know how that works.

When given choices and it’s time to make a decision, it’s best to be an educated consumer. Selecting a product from the Sunday paper or from the aisle at your local drugstore is fine but for most ears, hearing devices that are designed specifically for you are the best solution. If you have questions, ask an Audiologist. We’re here to help you.