Personal Hearing Amplifiers, or ear amplifiers, officially referred to as Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs), look and function very much like hearing aids. The difference is that they are designed to be used without the assistance of a hearing professional.
The advancement in the technology of aids and Personal Hearing Amplifiers in recent years has been impressive. Many of the options built into high-end hearing aids are also available in PSAPs at a price which may surprise you.
The following outline of the Top 6 Features of PSAPs will give you some things to consider as you decide which hearing amplifier is best for you.
- Feedback Cancellation – Not only can the high feedback squeal of hearing devices be annoying to the wearer, it can also be a distraction to others near the wearer. Many hearing amplifiers come in several colors to camouflage them visibly (black, silver, or beige to match hair color), but that camouflage is blown when the device alerts everyone in the room to its presence. If using an amplifier without being noticed is important to you, look for a feedback cancellation feature.
- Omnidirectional and Directional Options – One of the most common complaints of those who have hearing issues is difficulty hearing in environments with lots of background noise. Some personal hearing amplifiers come with functionality which reduces that background noise and gives the wearer a more focused sound amplification in the direction in which the head is turned. This is similar to the way blinders work on a horse. The sound coming from the sides and back of the wearer are reduced and the sound coming in front is magnified. Some PSAPs come with an omnidirectional (consistent “surround-sound” amplification) setting which is best for quiet environments like business meetings and a directional setting which is best for more noisy environments like a restaurant.
- Telecoil Functionality – Sometimes referred to as “T-coil”, telecoil functionality gives the wearer the option to use a telephone-specific setting which enhances the ability to hear well in phone conversations. Without this option, personal hearing amplifier wearers are often forced to put a smartphone on speaker, which is often inconvenient or embarrassing. If you want to be able to hear phone conversations well, look for the telecoil option.
- Preprogrammed algorithms – Hearing aids are extremely customizable, but require the assistance of a professional to personalize the programs which produce the optimal sound for the wearer. But there are generally a few algorithms or formulas which work well for most people who struggle with hearing. Some hearing amplifiers preprogram these common algorithms into the device, so the wearer can cycle through to find the one that works best.
- Ease of Use – Having these helpful features is only beneficial if you can adjust them quickly and easily while you’re living your life. Look for instructional videos which demonstrate how to access the different functions. Are the buttons easy to get to? Are the reporting sounds intuitive? Does the device alert you when the battery is running low?
- Ease of Maintenance – Personal hearing amplifiers are highly sensitive devices which go with you through lots of conditions in everyday life. Moisture is the most common culprit for amplifier degradation. Batteries will need to be changed each week. Tubing will need to be replaced about every six months. The tubing sometimes gets clogged. Does the amplifier come with tools for cleaning and replacement parts? Is it easily disassembled for cleaning? Does it come with a daily drying device?
The Tweak Focus and Focus+T (Telecoil) have been designed with all of these considerations in mind. Check out the following video of inventor and audiologist Dr. Daniel Schumaier demonstrating some of the options you should consider when shopping for a personal hearing amplifier.
Thank you for contacting Tweak Hearing. I’m sorry the video in this article didn’t address how to select the appropriate dome. We will add this information to the site. In the meantime, here is some information I hope you’ll find useful.
The Tweak package includes two accessories packs:
Thin Tube Accessories Pack
2 Thin Tubes (size 2B, right and left)
1 Sleeve Tip
3 Vented Dome Tips (two 9mm, one 12mm)
2 Closed Dome Tips (one 9mm, one 12mm)
5 Cleaning Lines
Earhook Power Accessories Pack
3 Closed Dome Tips (S, M, L)
1 Sound Tube
1 Cleaning Tool
Vented domes have openings for sound to pass through. Using a vented dome helps prevent occlusion of the ear (or the “barrel effect”) some people may experience. Vented domes also provide a more natural sound to users. Closed domes reduce the sound from outside the amplifier thereby boosting sound into the ear.
The thin tube delivers amplified sound into your ear. For mild losses, we recommend starting with the thin tube and preinstalled 9mm vented dome as this is adequate for most users. If you get feedback or whistling, change to a larger vented or closed dome. If the feedback continues use the thicker sound tube with earhook. Note: try decreasing the volume before switching to the bigger sound tube and earhook.
It is important for the sound tube and tip to fit properly in your ear. If you need a different size tip or tube, call 1-888-815-3240 or visit TweakHearing.com to purchase the appropriate size.
I hope this information has been beneficial. Be sure to contact me again if you have additional questions. You can also reach us at 1-888-815-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
Is this a product that I should try. Do you have a payment plan.
Thank you for contacting Tweak Hearing. The Tweak is a personal sound amplifier, so you could definitely give it a try. At this time we do not have a payment plan, but we are looking into this as an option for the future. We offer a 30 day risk free trial on the Tweak. The trial begins once FedEx delivers the Tweak to your home, we are able to see the delivery date from the tracking information. If you decide to return the Tweak you would contact us so we can provide an RMA number and our address. You would be responsible for shipping the Tweak back to us. Once we receive the Tweak our technician will inspect the unit to make sure it is working properly then we would refund your payment method for the cost of the Tweak. If you would like to speak with us we can be reached at 888-815-3240, we are open Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm EST.
I am looking into a hearing amplifier for a stunborn neighbor I he used to work for the phone compant back when Western Electric was the inovator in sound amplification. I understand now the difference between a hearing aid and an amplifier and believe he cuold use and amplifier as he seems to hear most frequencies just at a very diminished level, how do you measure the capablity of an ear amnplifier in decibels ? and how do your best compare to the other comparables on the market. As I understand it he could by a pair from you, try then and if they just dont work in his situation they can be returned at his cost for his money back ? Then would the same be available if he bought a different product from youn and it too was not up to his needs ? Sorry about all the questrons but I need all the ammo I can get because I think this may be an uphil battle with my neighbor, I keep asking him if he has a good hearing aid and he say yes but he is such a penny pincher he could have gotten them at the dollar store but he can afford anything out there I just need to convince him its going to be a good company with a good product so now you have to convice me. I dont think he cares about anyone seeing them, so they woulld not need to be descreet just effective. What products would you have me consider for him.
Dear Mr. Colling,
Thank you for contacting Tweak Hearing. We’re happy to hear of your interest in our products.
All of our psaps have multiple acoustic settings w/ different amplifications. It essentially comes down to what you desire in features versus budget. Our lowest cost Tweak has 5 presets to choose from with a max gain of around 30 dB. The ReFocus adds a rechargeable battery, t-coil and higher gain (over 45 dB) with a little better sound quality. I would recommend starting with the ReFocus if it is within his budget.
All Tweak products come with a 100% money back guarantee for the first 30 days after purchase. You may return your product to us for any reason within the first 30 days to receive a full refund of the purchase price excluding any shipping, handling or delivery charges.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or if we can be of other assistance.