You may have seen commercials on TV touting that once you put on one of these contraptions, you can “hear conversations across the room”. They say that you will be hearing birds again and listening to TV at a low volume. All this and more for under $19! Don’t be fooled by these commercials.
These commercials are not for hearing aids. They are for cheap “amplifiers”. The difference between a real hearing aid and a cheap amplifier is that an amplifier amplifies all sound, while a hearing aid will amplify only certain ranges of sound.
The most common form of hearing loss is high frequency hearing loss, also known as age related hearing loss. This type of loss effects the high ranges of sound. If you fall into this category then you probably have problems understanding speech in the presence of background noise. For example, you’re in a crowded restaurant with loud background sounds. Sufferers of high frequency hearing loss are probably having a hard time carrying on a conversation at the table because of the background interference. Now imagine putting on one of those amplifiers a seen on TV. Sure, the conversation got louder, but so did the background noise!
Open Fit hearing aids were introduced a few years back to help people that suffer from high frequency hearing loss. The vented “open ear” design allows ambient sounds to pass through your ear canal, while simultaneously giving you much needed amplification of the high frequency sounds. This allows you to naturally hear the sounds that you don’t have a problem with, while amplifying the sounds that you are having difficulty with, resulting in balanced hearing.
Unlike what those TV ads say, a hearing instrument isn’t supposed to give you super hearing powers so you can spy on people whispering across the room. They are designed to correct your hearing deficiencies, resulting in as normal hearing as best as can be obtained. Be smart and stay away from those As Seen On TV amplifiers!
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