As we grow older, different health problems tend to become part of a normal life. One of such problems is hearing loss, which is a sudden or gradual reduction in hearing ability.
Hearing loss is one of the commonest aging-associated health problems in the United States and the world at large. According to an article published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, about 25 percent of seniors between ages 65 and 74 have disabling hearing loss. And the figure is higher (50 percent) for seniors of age 75 and older.
Now, those statistics are scary, no doubt. And unfortunately, for most cases of disabling hearing loss in elderly people, nothing can be done to reverse the damage. This leaves affected seniors and their caregivers with only one option — hearing aids.
Although hearing aids have been proven to help most seniors with hearing loss to hear better, these devices are very expensive. In the United States, one digital hearing aid costs between $1,500 and $3,500, which means you’ll be set back by at least $3,000 to get a pair. That’s obviously far beyond what most seniors — and caregivers — can afford.
Thankfully, however, there are far cheaper alternatives to hearing aids that are equally as effective.
- Cheap Hearing Aid Alternatives
- Best Affordable Hearing Aids for Seniors: Our Top Picks
- 1. Empower Hearing amplifier
- 2. Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifier
- 3. Banglijian Hearing Amplifier ZIV-201
- 4. Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220
- 5. Tweak Hearing-Focus Model Personal Sound Amplifier
- 6. Sound World CS50 Wireless Bluetooth Sound Amplifier
- 7. Signia-Siemens LOTUS FUN SP 6 Hearing Amplifier
- Final recommendations
Cheap Hearing Aid Alternatives
Hearing Amplifiers are hearing enhancement devices that help to improve hearing in people with hearing loss. These non-prescription devices have been around for some time now, and the demand for them continues to boom — no thanks to the ridiculously high cost of prescription hearing aids.
Hearing amplifiers work for most users, and these devices are a serious threat to the prescription hearing aid market. In truth, these devices are technically the same as hearing aids. The only difference is that they are not regulated by the FDA and you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to use them.
The market is now flooded with hearing amplifiers that sell for as cheap as $100 or even less, but the truth is most of them don’t really work as expected. If you’re looking to buy these “cheap hearing aids”, then you need to be careful so you don’t make the wrong choice.
Here’s good news: If you’re looking to buy a reliable hearing device that really works, we’ve made your task much easier.
In a bid to help you figure out the best hearing amplifiers, we scoured the market for the various options that are suitable for elderly people. Then we cut out the low quality candidates until we were left with these seven options, which we reckon to be the best available at the moment.
Best Affordable Hearing Aids for Seniors: Our Top Picks
1. Empower Hearing amplifier
If you’re looking for a much cheaper alternative to those ridiculously expensive audiologist-fitted hearing aids, the Empower Hearing Amplifier is our top recommendation, as it is designed by seasoned audiologists.
A behind-the-ear device that’s easily concealed while in use, the Empower Hearing Amplifier provides clean amplification and digital voice reduction, so you’ll no longer miss out on those interesting statements at business presentations, cinemas, and other social gatherings.
The LifeEar Hearing amplifier blends with the best of American technology and combines that with European styling. So, it’s not just great at amplifying sounds, it’s also aesthetically alluring. And it provides a world-class cleaning experience typically associated with those four-figure hearing aids to find everywhere.
The device features a 4-volume noise reduction programs, so background noise doesn’t come in the way of what you really want to hear. And it packs a 12-band digital sound processing technology for crisp and clear sound amplification. Also impressive is the device’s conservative use of batteries. A set of batteries last several 18-hour days before replacement becomes necessary, so there’s reduced long term cost of batteries.
The device features two primary specturms — high end boost and uniform amplification. Each has a noise reduction option, leaving the user with four choices in all. Getting the right setting for you might takes several hours to few days of testing and tweaking in various environments — indoors and outdoors. But once you’re able to pin down the settings on your “sweetest spot”, you won’t have to do that again in a long time.
Another impressive aspect of the device is the battery life. Each battery lasts about 7 days with all-day use, which means it can last longer if used for shorter periods. More importantly, the battery is very cheap. So, you won’t pack up huge battery costs in the long haul.
The product pack contains the hearing amplifier itself, a regular ear tip, a power tip for increased volume (if needed), a carrying case, eight extra size-10 zinc-air batteries, and a cleaning brush.
The device is not the cheapest hearing amplifier in the market, but its high quality and great reviews informed our decision to make it our top pick. Even at its price, it way cheaper than — yet equally as effective as — most high-end hearing aids. It comes with a 6-month warranty.
- Impressive clarity
- Dynamic digital amplification
- Noise discrimination – can filter out unwanted sounds
- Easy to use — great for seniors!
- Thin and almost invisible while in use
- One unit can’t work for both ears. It’s either left or right (note this when placing your order)
- Runs on replaceable batteries (not rechargeable)
2. Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifier
The Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifier is another great option for seniors with hearing loss. Like the Empower Hearing Amplifier, this device comes in the behind-the-ear form, so you can wear it without having it noticed. This makes it a perfect match for seniors a strong requirement for concealment. The device is made in the United States by a company whose founder is a seasoned board-certified ear specialist. So, you can rest assured that this is a reliable product.
The device comes with 4 memory programs, which means you can set different programs for different environments and switch between them with a single press. So, if you have preset programs for your home, office, noisy places such as malls, and so on, you can easily select the approriate program for each place once you get there. Your selected program will remain the same until you decide to change it. The device also allows you to select between 10 different volume levels, so you can always find your sweet spot regardless of your degree of hearing loss.
The Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifier is tiny and lightweight, yet it houses a 12-band digital sound processor that has been programmed with sound discrimination ability. That is, the device can filter out unwanted noise around you while focusing only on human voices or other sounds you’re specifically interested in. And you won’t hear any of those annoying “whistling sounds of death” that come with poorly designed models. Of course, it’s quite expectable from a device designed by an ear health expert.
The device runs on size 312 batteries, which are included in the product pack. It comes with a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty and a 45-day money-back guarantee. This means you can return the device for a free replacement should it start to malfunction within12 months of purchase, and you can return the device for a full refund within 45 days of purchase if you’re not satisfied with it for any reason.
- Easy to use for seniors — single button for volume and program selection
- Lightweight and tiny — concealed during use
- Unwanted sound reduction — no whistling sounds of death
- Low drain on batteries
- Mnufacturer offers responsive and unlimited support via phone and email
- Comes with various sound tubes and ear domes of various sizes
- Uses replaceable batteries (not rechargeable)
- One unit can’t work for both ears. It’s either left or right (note this when placing your order)
3. Banglijian Hearing Amplifier ZIV-201
Another fast-selling option in the hearing amplifier market, the Banglijian ZIV 201 Hearing Amplifier is an affordable hearing aid alternative for seniors with varying degrees of hearing loss. What makes this device particularly impressive is its rechargeable battery, so users won’t have to replace batteries often. This is particularly cool for seniors because buying and changing batteries isn’t anywhere near easy for them.
The Banglijian Hearing Amplifier ZIV-201 doesn’t look any different from others in our list. It’s a behind-the-ear model that comprises a body, sound tube, ear hook, and ear dome. The body sports the volume control button, above which lies the power/program button that also doubles as charge indicator. The indicator turns red during charging and green when the device is fully charged. Right under the body lies the micro-USB charging port.
The device has a full digital tone quality, resulting in low audio distortion and enhanced voice clarity. There are two programs for noisy and quiet environments. The device takes about two hours to attain full charge, and delivers for 20 to 24 hours when fully charged.
The product pack contains the hearing amplifier device, a shockproof case, 3 sound tubes, 6 ear domes, a cleaning brush, a power adapter, and a user manual. The product is backed with a staggering 3-year manufacturer’s warranty, and a 3-month return policy.
- Tiny and lightweight — concealed during use
- Uses digital chip for smart noise reduction
- Each unit fits either ear
- Uses rechargeable batteries
- Easy to use and understand
- Long manufacturer’s warranty
- Slighter larger body (helps enhance sound conduction, though)
- There’s some slight background noise
4. Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220
If you’re looking for the best hearing aid alternative for seniors on a shoestring budget, then the Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220 is your best bet. Its cheap price notwithstanding, the device can compete seriously with many other models that cost much higher.
The Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220 is a behind-the-ear (BTE) device, which means it can be worn without being noticed by most people. One of its upsides is that it can be worn on either ear. At first sight, you’d love the device’s classy and premium looks. In terms of design, it’s just the same as others on our list. The only difference is that it has separate buttons for program selection and button control.
The device’s body bears the battery compartment on its lower part, while its front part sports the program button, the volume control button, and the power on/off switch. Extending backwards from the top of the body is the ear hook, which also bears the microphone. The ear hook continues downwards as the sound tube, which terminates in the earphone.
The Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220 amplifies voice smoothly, and reduces unwanted background noise. It features 4 preset hearing programs, each suitable for a different environment. And in terms of power consumption, only few devices can be more “lenient”. The device runs on replaceable batteries, but each battery lasts up to 500 hours before replacement would be necessary.
The product pack contains the hearing amplifier, two Power One zinc-air batteries, a hard protective case, two spare domes, a cleaning brush, and a user manual. It is backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Very cheap
- Lightweight and concealed while in use
- Premium look (despite price)
- Fits either ear
- Amazing battery life
- Uses replaceable battery (not rechargeable)
5. Tweak Hearing-Focus Model Personal Sound Amplifier
This device didn’t make the second spot on our list by mistake. It packs many amazing features that will help you hear well in any environment, especially if your lifestyle involves shuttling between noisy and silent environments.
We cannot guarantee that this product will help those with severe hearing loss, but those with mild and moderate hearing loss have reported great results with this device.
The Tweak Hearing-Focus Amplifier comes with programs for both noisy and quiet environments. In noisy environments the devices cancels out background noise so you can clearly hear what you really want to hear. The directional microphones in the device can be tilted towards the direction your preferred sound is coming from (all sounds coming from other directions are cancelled out).
The device also packs fast-acting, sound-activated compression, digital volume control, 8-band graphic equalizer, automatic feedback control, low battery tone indicator, and other features typically found in high-end hearing instruments. It’s ideal for TV and radio meetings, religious services, recreational activities, theater, group conversations, and other social engagements. It comes with a 12-month warranty.
6. Sound World CS50 Wireless Bluetooth Sound Amplifier
Unlike most other hearing amplifiers that amplify every sound around, the Sound World CS50 Bluetooth Sound Amplifier allows you to adjust your hearing preferences. The device comes with three pre-programmed settings for different environments, but you can also tweak these settings to suit your preferences.
In a noisy environment, you can easily adjust the device to focus only on the conversation of the person on front of you while fading out other sounds in the background that you’re not really interested in. This explains why the device is perfect for one-on-one conversations, parties and other gatherings, outdoor and sporting events, business meetings, television programs, restaurants, and other noisy places.
The Sound World CS50 Wireless Bluetooth Sound Amplifier comes with a free app that allows you to customize its settings using your smartphone (Android or iOS). It also comes with bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to connect it with your phone, use it as an alternative handsfree kit in your car, stream music and audiobooks straight to your ear, and connect it with other mobile entertainment devices.
This device, however, isn’t free from downsides. The first is that it sometimes fails to pair with smartphones (but switching off both devices and turning them on again usually solves the problem). Another is that your voice might sound tinny to the person at the other end when you’re on phone and using the device as a handsfree kit. Finally, some users complained that amplifier’s case was just too big for their pockets.
Nonetheless, the Sound World CS50 Bluetooth Sound Amplifier is a great device that works fine for mild and moderate hearing loss.
7. Signia-Siemens LOTUS FUN SP 6 Hearing Amplifier
For many years now, Siemens has been majorly into the production of high-end hearing aids. But the company now has a number of low-end models — hearing amplifiers — to their credit. One of their most reliable hearing amplifiers is the one of which is the Signia-Siemens LOTUS FUN SP 6 hearing amplifier.
The device comes in a robust design and a moisture-proof appearance. Each unit can be used in either ear. And though quite affordable, it packs a good number of not-so-amazing features. There’s a 100% digital signal processor and an excellent feedback elimination system that filters off unwanted sounds where human speech is the focus. The device features 6 channels and 4 preset programs, each suitable for a different environment. These preset programs as well as volume levels can be selected with the rocker-style control button lying in front of the device’s body. And just so you know, the device is a behind-the-ear type.
The Signia-Siemens LOTUS FUN SP 6 hearing amplifier runs on size 675 replaceable zinc-air batteries. The product pack contains the amplifier, 2 ear tips, and a cleaning brush. But unfortunately, the manufacturer gave little to no details on how to contact them for a refund or for complaints about the product. Also, while the product is easy to understand and use right away, the product pack doesn’t include a user manual, which isn’t cool to hear about a brand like Siemens.
If you were looking to buy a cheap aid, then your best bet is the Empower Hearing Amplifier because it’s one of the bestselling models in the market, and buyers are giving good accounts about it. It’s been proven to work better than many audiologist-prescribed hearing aids out there. The same runs true for the Otofonix Elite and Banglijian hearing amplifiers, only that both are a bit less popular than our number one pick.
But the Banglijian amplifier stands out from the pack because it runs on a rechargeable battery. If that’s a feature you’re concerned about, then you won’t go wrong with the device.
And if you’re on a shoestring budget, then we’d recommend the Britzgo BHA-220 hearing amplifier. Nonetheless, you’d be fine with any other option on our list. We assure you!