What are the Best Hearing Amplifiers?
Note: We do not sell or service these amplifiers. Please do not contact us with questions- but feel free to post them in the comment section below.
If you’re struggling with hearing loss and not quite ready to buy a traditional (expensive) hearing aid, you might be interested in hearing amplifiers, which can kind of “hold you over” until your loss progresses to the point that you need customized hearing aids. If you do have a hearing loss, understand that chances are you will at some point need a traditional hearing aid which is customized to your hearing loss, and that a hearing amplifier will at best be a very temporary solution that can help a little. I’ve written about a few “hearing amplifiers” before, such as the aptly named Starkey AMP (which is a great amplifier, but no longer available), but for the purpose of this post, I’m only going to be providing an overview of hearing amplifiers which are priced under $150 each- so that excludes the Starkey AMP.
Before I list some of the best hearing amplifiers available today, it’s important to know why hearing amplifiers are generally considered a “half measure.” Hearing amplifiers will not be customized to your hearing loss- at all. The problem with this is, of course, everyone’s hearing loss and needs from assistive listening devices is different, so hearing amplifiers kind of apply a one-size-fits-all mentality to the amplification- it’s not fine tuned. Because of this, it’s not going to sound great. It will probably whistle at times, it will probably be sharp or harsh sounding sometimes, and probably won’t fit like a glove. So that’s my disclaimer. Hearing amplifiers leave much to be desired- but they will provide a bit of hearing help for a very low price. Now that we’re on the same page, allow me to present (what I consider) to be the best hearing amplifiers available today.
MSA 30X Sound Amplifier: $30
First up, is a product that I have seen many of my clients use with great results. I was incredibly skeptical when I first saw this device in person, but it actually works pretty well. If you can get over the fact that it’s probably the ugliest hearing amplifier available, it’s not a bad sounding device at all. I’ve listening to several of these and the sound is remarkably crisp and clear- and this is coming from someone that has listened to thousands of state-of-the-art hearing aids. As you can see from the picture, to the left, there is a small cable which runs from the unit behind the ear, down into the ear mold. Obviously the ear mold is not custom molded to your ear, but it does come with 6 different sized dome tips, and this allows you to find one that fits just right. Here’s a tip- you want to choose one that gives a tight fit. The tighter the fit, the less chance for feedback. Which brings me to the next point about this amplifier- if you have anything more than a mild hearing loss, you will get feedback with it. From personal experience, this amplifier cannot be turned up very loud without feedback, so that’s something to keep in mind. This amplifier doesn’t use batteries, which is nice because it cuts down on your recurring costs. It has a simple to use charging stand (shown to the left), that you set the aid on any time it is not in use. For $30 it is hard to beat this amplifier.
Silver Sonic Personal Sound Amplifier: $25
Contrary to the MSA 30X, the Silver Sonic Personal Sound Amplifier is actually a very attractive amplifier. This is probably the amplifier that I see my prospective patients wearing the most. With so many people today wearing bluetooth devices, this amplifier allows you to blend right in with the crowd and have a very discrete hearing amplifier. This amplifier can also be recharged, so there are no batteries to change, and the charge (according to most user reviews) lasts for about 5-6 hours. There is a small volume control which allows for a little adjustment, and the device comes with a few different sized ear tips so you can hopefully find one that fits comfortably enough for you. I’ve never personally listened to this device- I’m simply ranking it among “the best” based on the fact it is the one I most commonly see my clients wearing, and based on the majority of positive reviews for the product on Amazon.
Williams Sound Pocketalker Ultra: $130
Last but not least is a really neat little device that I’ve seen a few of my patients use, but less than the others above because this is a bit more expensive than the others. In addition, as you can imagine it is not the most discrete option either. When you use this device, it looks like you are listening to music or something, since you’ve got headphones in your ears and wires running down into your shirt or pant pocket. It would probably be most comfortable to clip this to a belt or keep it around the waste, because you’re going to want easy access to change the volume. If you buy this system, I’d recommend investing in a good set of headphones (around $20), as it’s reported that the headphones which come with this amplifier are cheap. One of the really cool things about this amplifier is it has a remote microphone and an extension cord, so you can set the remote mic near the TV for example, and sit on the couch and have the sound from the TV enter the remote mic, and then be transmitted to your ears, so you get a much more clear sound without all the ambient noise. Alternatively, you can also use this as a lapel mic, and have (for example), your dinner guest or car passenger clip it to their shirt, so you get a much stronger signal to noise ration. The Pocketalker Ultra runs on (2) AAA batteries, and will last for about 2 weeks if used several hours a day. One more thing to mention, the Pocketalker has more power than all of the other amplifiers on the market- these can get really loud. I’ve seen people with severe losses doing pretty well with the Pocketalker, and online reviews corroborate that as well.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.