When it comes to seeking the right treatment for your hearing, things can get tricky. With so many options online that promise better hearing, it’s no wonder we often get asked at Arnold Hearing Centres, “What’s the difference between hearing aids & hearing amplifiers?”

As the owner of Ontario’s leading hearing centre, I’m here to help you understand the difference and make an informed decision on the best hearing treatment option for you.

So, What Are Hearing Aids?

A hearing aid is a hearing device you have the ability to tune specifically to a certain hearing loss. It gives you a lot of options based on environment, hearing loss, individual frequency levels, and feedback.

It’s like putting a small computer in your ear and giving your audiologist the ability to do all the fine-tuning.

What Are Hearing Amplifiers?

A hearing amplifier is all or nothing. You can turn the volume up and that’s pretty much all it does. It just boosts everything up.

What’s The Difference Between A Hearing Aid & A Hearing Amplifier?

Hearing aids are miles ahead of hearing amplifiers, for so many reasons.

  • Volume – I find that hearing amplifiers are not safe because there’s no “this loud will damage your hearing” setting. So, if you turn an amplifier up way too loud, like an iPhone with AirPods, then you can do damage over time. For hearing aids, we set them at a maximum volume level that won’t harm your hearing loss further.
  • Features – Again, a hearing aid comes with tons of features while amplifiers don’t usually have any.
  • Customizing – Hearing amplifiers are non-customizable. For example, if you turn up your amplifiers, you might get that whistling feedback, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to deal with that problem.
  • Aesthetics – Amplifiers are a one-size-fits-all solution most times and are “a lot” ugly.
  • Fitting – A lot of times, we use things like little foam ends on the ends to make an amplifier custom fit, but they’re uncomfortable no matter what we do. I know lately they’ve made amplifiers a little bit more like a receiver-in-canal style hearing aid (RIC), which is fine, but again, it’s not really personalized to the wearer. It’s a one-size-fits-all device. You buy it and you hope that it’s going to help.
  • Price – Obviously, there’s a price difference. Amplifiers are a heck of a lot cheaper, but you get what you pay for with it. You buy cheap, you buy twice.
  • Repairs – We can fix a lot of the problems that people first have with hearing aids –problems that can’t be fixed with an amplifier.
What Hearing Solution Is Best For You?

Who Is Best Suited For Hearing Aids?

Anyone with even a mild hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. There are so many options available these days that there’s usually a right fit for everybody with any type of hearing loss.

Who Is Best Suited For Hearing Amplifiers?

If you’re someone who’s new to the idea of having a hearing loss, and your loss is so minimal that even your audiologist says to wait a while to see how it goes, then hearing amplifiers can be a good place to start. Think of them as something at entry level to try out for a couple of months or a year, just to get the feel for it.

But we do the same thing here at Arnold Hearing Centres – we offer trials of different hearing devices so you can find out if one is right for you or not.

Is There A Difference In Cost?

You can get a hearing amplifier for anywhere from CA$40 to $400 and hearing aids for about CA$1,200 to $3,500. The real difference here is that you get what you pay for with hearing amplifiers – a cheap, one-size-fits-all device with no aftercare or ongoing support.

Whereas hearing aids can be seen as an investment. When you purchase hearing aids from Arnold Hearing Centres, you’re paying for the hearing aids themselves, plus the services we provide. Our dispensing fee covers in-office repairs, adjustments, and cleaning for at least three years and up to the entire life of the hearing aid.

So, there really is no comparison.

Do You Need A Hearing Assessment To Get Hearing Amplifiers?

No, but I strongly advise getting one so you don’t damage your hearing with the customizable hearing amplifier. The least we can do is recommend the best level to set it to.

A comprehensive hearing assessment sets you up for any further changes in your hearing, should you later decide to get prescribed hearing aids.

How To Determine If You Need A Hearing Amplifier Or Hearing Aid

A hearing care professional, be it a hearing instrument specialist or an audiologist, is the best person to tell you what’s needed to treat your hearing loss. At least let them assess your hearing and give you a hearing test.

Hearing specialists have gone to school for this. They’ve studied this and had to do countless extra credit hours every year to keep learning about new technology and more. This is what we live and breathe. So I feel that we’re the best at determining that.

We want you to come in here and feel comfortable knowing that your hearing is being looked after properly. Please contact us with any questions you have about the best solution for your hearing health.

Book a hearing test at the location most convenient for you in  KitchenerGuelphSimcoe, or Waterloo. We look forward to helping you hear clearly once more.

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Chris Arnold - Owner & HIS

Growing up in Kitchener, Ontario, Chris went to Durham and George Brown College. As the owner of Arnold Hearing Centres, he manages all locations, as well as handles all the marketing, reporting, meetings, and makes sure that both the staff and patients have a positive experience. Ultimately, there is a lot of pressure on Chris to ensure he delivers results year after year, but he credits the clinic’s success down to the amazing staff that has now become family. Truly, he enjoys working alongside everyone each day.