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Cheap vs. Affordable Hearing Aids: What’s the Difference?

You may look in a thesaurus and find that “cheap” is listed as a synonym for “affordable,” but that doesn’t mean that they’re really the same thing. And, while you may be able to find personal sound amplification products (or PSAPs) for under $100, or even devices marketed as “hearing aids” for that cheap, it may not be the best idea to get these devices. That doesn’t, however, mean that you have to pay thousands of dollars per ear to experience the life-changing benefits that come with hearing aids. There is a happy medium between cheap, low-quality hearing aids and expensive ones. But what’s the real difference between cheap hearing aids and affordable hearing aids?

Cheap Hearing Aids

Realistically speaking, the majority of “hearing aids” priced around or under $100 aren’t actually hearing aids. They’re more likely to be PSAPs (though there are PSAPs that do fall into the $100-$700 range). Some run even as low as $20. But, while this pricing may seem very attractive, these devices come with a catch.

These “cheap hearing aids” may be useful for those measuring on the low end of normal hearing, or for those who want to watch the television without disturbing others sleeping in the house.

However, they are neither designed for nor adequate for treating those whose hearing falls on the spectrum of hearing loss. PSAPs do exactly what their name indicates: they amplify sound. However, they do not usually have the technology within the device to distinguish between background noise and voice frequencies, and they will, therefore, be more likely to amplify the sounds you don’t want to hear as well as the ones you do. Plus, hearing aids have a number of other features that PSAPs don’t offer, including telecoil technology for cell phone compatibility, multiple settings for different listening environments, and more. As a result, PSAPs become all but useless in noisy environments when trying to hear conversations better, or they may result in unpleasant feedback.

Cheap hearing aids also may not properly amplify the higher frequencies that most affected by hearing loss have difficulty hearing in the first place. The most common forms of hearing loss affect frequencies over 1,000 Hz (to varying degrees). In other words, the uppermost range of male speech, half of the range of female speech, and most of the range of children’s speech falls into the range of hearing most often affected by hearing loss. If your “hearing aids” don’t actually help amplify these frequencies properly, you’ll find yourself with the same problem you had without the devices: you won’t be able to hear what a lot of people are saying. Worse, these devices are more likely to send loud feedback noises to your ears, and they will likely do so more often than well-made hearing aids. By sending those loud, high-pitched noises straight into your ear canal, they could potentially damage your hearing even further.

Affordable Hearing Aids

Affordable hearing aids are real hearing aids (hearing aids that are designed to address the specific frequency amplification needs of those suffering from hearing loss) that don’t cost $3,000 per aid. With affordable hearing aids, you may pay a little more than you would for “cheap hearing aids,” but you’ll get more bang for your buck in terms of technology and quality. These aids often include the settings, voice amplification, and performance you would expect from top-of-the-line, high-priced hearing aids, and many even offer background noise reduction technology and advanced feedback reduction (like our MDHearingAid AIR). These products also offer advanced technologies that prioritize voices and higher frequencies, which may be harder to discern for those with hearing loss. This makes affordable hearing aids more effective for those who fall into the mild-to-moderately-severe range of the hearing loss spectrum.

Ready to Hear Better without Breaking the Bank?

MDHearingAid offers affordable, high-quality hearing aids with a variety of options available. Our three models of premium hearing aids come in at over 80% less than comparable, more expensive models, saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Read our reviews to see why people like you love our hearing aids or check out our line of hearing aids for yourself. Questions? Check out our FAQs or contact us online; we’re happy to help.