The Truth About Cheap “Hearing Aids”

Unhappy and disappointed customer giving low rating.

The term “cheap” has dual meanings. For anyone on a tight budget, it means “affordability”. But we’ve all heard the phrase “You get what you pay for”, and in this case, the term “cheap” implies low-quality hearing aids.

Regrettably, distinguishing between an economical purchase and an item of minimal value is often tricky. When it comes to hearing aids, this couldn’t be more valid.

The adage “you get what you pay for” is particularly potent with hearing aids. This doesn’t always mean going for the top-tier option, but rather, looking closely at offerings that boast a price tag too appealing to be legitimate. Companies marketing cheap hearing devices frequently omit essential details about their products that consumers should know about.

Cheaper hearing aids are basically only amplifiers

Cheap “hearing aids” typically offer limited functionality, mainly amplifying or decreasing overall volume. When you simply amplify everything, the sounds you want to hear better are amplified but so are unwanted background noise you don’t want.

The purpose of having a hearing aid is entirely defeated if it also amplifies undesirable sound.

On the other hand, a high-quality, modern hearing aid goes beyond simple volume adjustment. It minimizes background sound while skillfully managing sound and maximizing clarity. Real hearing aids mimic natural hearing with great accuracy and are custom tuned to your particular hearing needs.

Hearing aids vs. PSAPs

The Food and Drug Administration has written guidelines for those who sell hearing devices and have stringent rules as to what can be called hearing aids.

Sadly, there are many devices out there that are advertised as hearing aids when they are technically personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), named such because they can only amplify sound.

There are many legit and reputable providers that comply with proper marketing. But you may 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 falsely advertise that they are FDA-approved.

For the majority of kinds of hearing loss they won’t be effective at all

The majority of individuals who lose their hearing will slowly lose certain frequencies of sound before others. For instance, you may have no trouble hearing a man with a low voice, but struggle with a woman’s or child’s voice, finding it difficult to understand.

A cheap hearing device usually results in total volume amplification. However, if you struggle with specific frequencies, merely boosting the volume will be insufficient. And turning up the overall volume could lead to additional damage to your hearing because the frequencies you don’t have trouble with will be booming in your ears.

High-quality hearing aids provide a solution by being programmable to compensate for the loss of particular frequencies. They can automatically adjust the frequency you struggle to hear to one that is more audible, providing a more customized and effective hearing experience.

You might get a lot of feedback

Cheap hearing aids are usually not custom fit to your ears. Without that custom fit, you’ll create a feedback loop. The microphone picks up the sound from the speaker in your ear as it wiggles around. This will result in a deafening screech.

They typically won’t help you on your cellphone

When people are looking for a budget-friendly device, they often sacrifice functionality like Bluetooth connectivity. The lack of Bluetooth becomes critical when thinking about phone connectivity. With cheaper hearing devices, when you attempt to amplify phone calls, your device will amplify every little sound, like your lips or ears brushing on the phone, or clothing and hair.

In comparison, digital hearing aids utilize telecoil or Bluetooth technology, establishing a wireless connection between your hearing aid and the phone. Overall communication and clarity will be enhanced so you can be sure you will hear your daughter’s voice on the phone.

They aren’t designed for individuals with hearing loss

Most people would probably be surprised by this. These amplifiers were never intended to treat hearing loss. They were designed to help people who have relatively good hearing hear things a bit louder.

If you have very mild hearing loss then cheap devices may help a little. But they won’t be of much use for people who actually need hearing aids.

Finding quality, affordable hearing aids

Getting affordable quality hearing aids is not hard. They may even be covered by insurance or other third parties. There are also affordable brands, leasing plans, and financing options. If you think you have hearing loss, begin by getting checked out. Call us today for a consultation, we can help figure out what’s best for you, depending on your level and type of hearing loss, and make sure you get a pair that won’t break the bank!


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.