The Truth About Cheap “Hearing Aids”

Unhappy and disappointed customer giving low rating.

The term “cheap” carries dual meanings. For someone on a tight budget, it means “affordability”. Conversely, it conveys low-quality, turning a seemingly economical purchase into a not-so-smart decision, epitomized by the adage “You get what you pay for”.

Regrettably, distinguishing between a thrifty purchase and an item of negligible value is often tricky. When it comes to hearing aids, this couldn’t be more true.

With hearing aids, the saying “you get what you pay for” is especially true. This doesn’t always mean opting for the top-tier option, but instead, looking closely at offerings that boast a price tag too enticing to be genuine. Consumers need to be aware that important information is often left out of the marketing campaigns of cheap hearing aids.

They usually just amplify sound

Amplifying the overall volume is generally the only thing cheap “hearing aids” are capable of. If you boost the volume to hear the TV better, you’ll also get background noises including the dishwasher, a fan in a different room, a barking dog, or the sound of your house slippers moving across the floor.

If everything is louder, it totally defeats the purpose of having a hearing aid.

Contrastingly, a high-quality, contemporary hearing aid goes beyond mere volume adjustment. It minimizes background noise while expertly managing sound and improving clarity. Authentic hearing aids are tuned to your specific hearing needs, closely mimicking natural hearing with increased accuracy.

PSAPs vs. Hearing Aids

There are stringent rules about what an advertiser can call a hearing aid as published by the Food and Drug Administration.

Regrettably, 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 lots of legitimate and reputable providers that comply with correct marketing. But there are some sellers, particularly online, that might be misinformed about what defines the difference between hearing aids and PSAPs, and consequently, they put out misleading statements about their products. You may even find some that state that they are approved by the FDA when that’s actually not true.

They aren’t inclusive for the majority of types of hearing loss

The progressive loss of hearing frequently involves difficulty with specific frequencies instead of an abrupt total loss. You may have a difficult time understanding a small child or a woman, for example, but you have no problem understanding a man with a low voice.

You get total amplification with cheap hearing aids. But simply cranking up the overall volume will not be sufficient for individuals who have a tough time hearing specific frequencies. Moreover, turning the volume up substantially to hear the sound of your granddaughter playing on the floor might lead to your adult son’s speech sounding like a roar, potentially adding to hearing loss if exposed to high volumes for extended periods.

High-quality hearing aids can be programmed to increase selected frequencies offering a much better solution. They offer a more personalized hearing experience by shifting frequencies you can’t hear very well to frequencies you hear better.

Feedback can be a problem

You won’t get a custom fit with cheap hearing aids. A feedback loop is frequently the outcome of poorly fitting hearing aids. The microphone picks up the sound from the speaker in your ear as it wiggles around. What does this sound like? An ear-shattering screech.

They normally don’t have cellphone support

When people are looking for a budget-friendly device, they often sacrifice functionality like Bluetooth capability. When thinking about phone connectivity, the absence of Bluetooth is a major hurdle. Attempting to amplify a cheap hearing aid while on the phone results in capturing not just the caller’s voice but also the sounds of your ear, lips, clothing, and hair brushing against the phone, making it even more difficult to hear the person on the other end.

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

They were never meant to treat hearing loss

Most individuals would probably be surprised by this. PSAPs were never made for people with hearing loss. They were made to help individuals who have relatively good hearing hear things a bit louder.

Cheap devices may help a little if you only have slight hearing loss. But they won’t be of much use for people who actually need hearing aids.

Where can you get quality affordable hearing aids?

Obtaining affordable quality hearing aids isn’t hard. They might even be covered by insurance or other third parties. There are also affordable brands, leasing plans, and financing options. The first step is to get a hearing test if you think you might have hearing loss. Make 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.


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.