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OTC Hearing Aids

4 min read

OTC Hearing Aids vs. Hearing Amplifiers

It is important when researching devices to help yourself or a loved one with hearing loss to learn about your options. Living with hearing loss, you might wonder about hearing aids vs. hearing amplifiers. While it may seem that OTC hearing aids and hearing amplifiers are interchangeable, they are very different. Though both OTC hearing aids and hearing amplifiers amplify sound and audio, that is where their similarities end. It is important to know the differences between OTC hearing aids and hearing amplifiers to  choose the best hearing aids for you. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the different types of hearing devices, including the answer to “How do amplifiers work?” and other details about sound amplifiers and OTC hearing aids.


What’s the Difference Between Hearing Aids and Sound Amplifiers?

Difference Between Hearing Aids and Sound Amplifiers

A hearing aid can help someone living with hearing loss improve their quality of life, reduce their feelings of isolation, and rejoin their favorite day-to-day activities. However, only one in six people between the ages of 20 and 69, and fewer than one in three people over the age of 70 who could benefit from hearing aids have them, according to data on the  use of hearing aids by adults with hearing loss from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. So, you might be looking for a device to help you hear better.

Just like there are different types of hearing loss, there are  different types of hearing aids. However, hearing amplifiers are not a type of hearing aid. Although they look similar, there are several differences between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers. 


What are OTC Hearing Aids?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device you wear either in or behind your ear. OTC hearing aids are just like regular hearing aids, except they are sold over the counter. Yet, OTC hearing aids are  still regulated by the FDA. OTC hearing aids are meant for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. They can help a person rejoin their daily activities.


How Do Hearing Aids Work? 

How Do Hearing Aids Work

Hearing aids do much more than just make sounds around you louder. Here is  how hearing aids work: hearing aids have three basic parts: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone. The microphone converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals. Then, the amplifier sends the sounds to the ear through a speaker. 

Unlike hearing amplifiers, hearing aids identify the specific sounds you have trouble hearing and make them louder and clearer. For example, hearing aids can help you hear your friends and family’s conversations in a noisy restaurant. A hearing amplifier would amplify all the sounds in the restaurant, like the clinking silverware.

Hearing aids also typically have a range of unique features that most hearing amplifiers do not. Some,  like our Sontro® Self-Fitting  OTC Hearing Aids, utilize artificial intelligence and smartphone apps. 


What are OTC Hearing Aids Used For?

Over-the-counter hearing aids are the perfect solution for adults over 18 years old who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss. They are medical hearing devices. 


What are Hearing Amplifiers?

Hearing amplifiers, sometimes  also called personal sound amplification products  (PSAP) or sound amplifiers, are devices you wear that use a microphone to pick up nearby sounds. Then, the amplifier processes the sound and sends it to your ear at a louder volume. 

Unlike hearing aids, hearing amplifiers are not meant to improve hearing loss. They are not medical devices. They make all sounds louder and can’t distinguish between sound frequencies or pitch. Hearing amplifiers can  further damage your ears and increase hearing loss due to high volume levels. But how do amplifiers work? 


How Do Amplifiers Work?

Unlike hearing aids, hearing amplifiers are not for people with hearing loss. Also, hearing amplifiers are not regulated as medical devices by the FDA. You do not need a prescription to purchase a hearing amplifier.  


What are Hearing Amplifiers Used For?

Hearing amplifiers are not made for people with hearing loss. Instead, they are used to help people hear certain sounds more clearly. For example, hearing amplifiers or PSAPs are commonly utilized  for bird-watching or hunting activities. 


Similarities of OTC Hearing Aids and Hearing Amplifiers 

Over-the-counter hearing aids and hearing amplifiers both amplify sound and are worn on or over your ears, but that is where the similarities end between the hearing devices. 


OTC Hearing Devices

The main difference between  Sontro® Self-Fitting OTC Hearing Aids and hearing amplifiers is that the Sontro OTC Hearing Aid is customized to your hearing loss level. After ordering your hearing aids, you take an easy three-minute hearing test, wearing your new Sontro OTC Hearing Aids, on the otoTune® app to determine your level of hearing loss. The otoTune app customizes your new hearing aids using the results of the three-minute hearing test. These OTC hearing aids are customizable, unlike hearing amplifiers. The app combines Bluetooth technology, artificial intelligence, and patented software (that hearing amplifiers do not offer) to help you rejoin the conversations around you. 


OTC Hearing Aids vs. Hearing Amplifiers: The Choice is Clear

It is essential to choose the suitable hearing device for your level of hearing loss. Hearing aids are much more beneficial for those suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss than hearing amplifiers. If you are looking for the  best hearing aids for your hearing loss, consider our Sontro OTC Hearing Aids. Take our  free online hearing test  today to get started, or contact us to answer any of your questions about OTC hearing aids vs. hearing amplifiers.