The word “cheap” carries dual meanings. On the one hand, it implies affordability, a smart choice for a budget-conscious person. But we’ve all heard the phrase “You get what you pay for”, and in this example, the word “cheap” indicates low-quality hearing aids.
Unfortunately, determining whether you’re getting a great deal from whether you’re getting a really low-quality device can be difficult. With regard to hearing aids, this couldn’t be more valid.
With hearing aids, the saying “you get what you pay for” is particularly true. This means weeding out the devices that are priced in the “too good to be true” range, not automatically opting for the most expensive option. Customers need to recognize that important information is often left out of the marketing campaigns of cheap hearing aids.
Cheaper hearing aids are basically only amplifiers
Cheap “hearing aids” generally provide limited functionality, mainly amplifying or reducing overall volume. When you simply amplify everything, the sounds you want to hear better are amplified but so are undesirable background sounds you don’t want.
The purpose of having a hearing aid is totally defeated if it also amplifies unwanted sound.
A modern state-of-the-art hearing aid, in comparison, does a lot more than just crank up the volume. It minimizes background noise while skillfully managing sound and enhancing clarity. Authentic hearing aids simulate natural hearing with great accuracy and are custom programmed to your particular hearing needs.
PSAPs vs. Hearing Aids
There are strict rules about what an advertiser can call a hearing aid as published by the Food and Drug Administration.
Sadly, there are many devices out there that market themselves as hearing aids when they’re technically personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), named this because they can only amplify sound.
Most reputable companies follow the rules. But you might find some uninformed salespeople or products on Amazon or eBay that mislead consumers into thinking that these devices meet the definition of a hearing aid. Some even inaccurately advertise that they are FDA-approved.
They’re not inclusive for the majority of types of hearing loss
The gradual loss of hearing frequently involves trouble hearing particular frequencies instead of a sudden complete loss. You may have a hard time understanding a little kid or a woman, for instance, but you have no issue understanding a man with a low voice.
You get overall amplification with cheap hearing aids. But just turning up the overall volume will not be adequate for people who have a hard time hearing certain frequencies. Furthermore, turning the volume up substantially to hear the sound of your granddaughter playing on the floor might lead to your adult son’s voice sounding like a roar, potentially contributing to hearing loss if exposed to high volumes for extended periods.
High-quality hearing aids offer a solution by being programmable to make up for the loss of specific frequencies. They provide a more personalized hearing experience by shifting frequencies you can’t hear very well to frequencies you hear better.
Feedback can be an issue
You won’t get a custom fit with cheap hearing aids. Without that custom fit, you’ll create a feedback loop. The microphone picks up the sound from the speaker in your ear as it jiggles around. What does this sound like? An ear-shattering screech.
They usually don’t have cellphone support
When people are looking for a budget-friendly device, they frequently sacrifice functionality like Bluetooth capability. The lack of Bluetooth becomes crucial when thinking about phone connectivity. With cheaper hearing devices, when you try to amplify phone calls, your device will amplify every little sound, like your ears or lips rubbing on the phone, or clothing and hair.
In contrast, digital hearing aids use telecoil or Bluetooth technology, creating a wireless connection between your hearing aid and the phone. This advanced feature ensures that when your daughter talks on the other end, her voice is transmitted directly into your hearing aids, improving clarity and overall communication.
They were never intended to treat hearing loss
This may come as a surprise because so many people think otherwise. PSAPs were never designed for individuals with hearing loss. They were made to amplify sound for individuals who have relatively good hearing.
If you have very mild hearing loss then cheap devices might help a little. But people who actually need hearing aids won’t find these cheaper devices that helpful.
Where can you get quality affordable hearing aids?
Getting affordable quality hearing aids is not difficult. Insurance or other third parties may cover them. There are also affordable brands, leasing programs, and financing options. The first step is to get a hearing assessment if you suspect you may have hearing loss. Schedule an appointment with us so we can help you find the best and most affordable hearing aids for your level and type of hearing loss.