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Cheap(er) Hearing Aid Alternatives that Actually Work

looking for cheap hearing aid alternatives

Let me state the obvious.  Hearing aids are expensive. Learning that Medicare and other insurers do not pay for hearing aids is frustrating. Why is age-related hearing loss not considered a medical condition? It is important to daily life to be able to hear for senior home safety. Hearing the smoke detector or the telephone saves lives. Many seniors though cannot afford to pay for a hearing aid and try personal sound amplifiers first. Here are some more affordable, low-cost, and cheap hearing aid alternatives to help you hear better.

Comparison Table: Cheap(er) Hearing Aid Alternatives

Photo
TOP PICK!
Product
Lucid Audio ENRICH Personal Sound Hearing Amplifier PSAP (Ready to wear behind the ear hearing...
Williams Sound PKT D1 EH Pocketalker Ultra Duo Pack Amplifier with Single Mini Earbud and Folding...
Bluetooth Personal Sound Amplifier - Sound World Solutions Sidekick Model: HD100-PSA (One Ear, White...
Otofonix Hearing Amplifier All Digital Volume Control Personal Sound Amplifier (Right Ear, Gray)
Mini-Review
Best (and about the only one worth buying) hearing aid alternative under $100
Not a discreet hearing aid alternative but very effective and works incredibly well.
Lots of features and sound levels can be adjusted through an app.
Best overall hearing aid alternative with multple configurations. Very small and very light.
Price
$95.00
$138.70
$399.00
$349.99
Photo
Product
Lucid Audio ENRICH Personal Sound Hearing Amplifier PSAP (Ready to wear behind the ear hearing...
Mini-Review
Best (and about the only one worth buying) hearing aid alternative under $100
Price
$95.00
Photo
Product
Williams Sound PKT D1 EH Pocketalker Ultra Duo Pack Amplifier with Single Mini Earbud and Folding...
Mini-Review
Not a discreet hearing aid alternative but very effective and works incredibly well.
Price
$138.70
Photo
Product
Bluetooth Personal Sound Amplifier - Sound World Solutions Sidekick Model: HD100-PSA (One Ear, White...
Mini-Review
Lots of features and sound levels can be adjusted through an app.
Price
$399.00
TOP PICK!
Photo
Product
Otofonix Hearing Amplifier All Digital Volume Control Personal Sound Amplifier (Right Ear, Gray)
Mini-Review
Best overall hearing aid alternative with multple configurations. Very small and very light.
Price
$349.99

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 12:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You get what you pay for?

There are many devices on the market today to help seniors with hearing better. Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAP's) are helping many seniors and elderly at the fraction of the price of a traditional hearing aid. Some of these devices are worn on the ear like a hearing aid. Others have an external box that goes in a pocket or purse.

Often PSAP's like these help seniors get through the early days of hearing loss. Some seniors rely on these because they cannot afford the high costs of hearing aids. Using an alternative to a hearing aid helps them get by. This gives them time to save up or find another way to pay for a hearing aid. For profound hearing loss though, a hearing aid may be the only way to go.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of BAD cheap hearing aid alternatives out there. Many do not live up to their promises. Others do not work at all. Some should be avoided at all costs. This is one area where price will be somewhat an indicator of quality. Consumer reports recommends avoiding all hearing amplifiers under $50.00.

But, how do you know which hearing aid alternatives are worth buying? I've done the research for you, Read on!

Best Alterative Hearing Amplifier under $100

Lucid Audio ENRICH Personal Sound Hearing Amplifier (PSAP)

lucid enrich cheap hearing aid alternative under $100.00

Photo courtesy of lucidaudio.com

This was a hard category to research. There is a lot of junk in the under $100 category. But, the Lucid Enrich hearing aid alternative is a little gold nugget among the junk.

You probably have never heard of Lucid Audio but they are more popular for high end sound boosting headphones and earbuds. They have used the technology from those products to help people with hearing difficulty.​

Sound Settings

This 3 sound modes offered by the Enrich are a feature not found in many other hearing aid alternatives. Especially in the price range. These modes adjust the sound amplification based on the environment the user is in. The first mode is every day use. For example, watching TV,  listening to a speaker, or going for a walk. The second mode is for high frequency sounds and a third mode for low frequency sound environments. This improves overall hearing and allows the user some control over what they hear.

Review Summary and Recommendation

Lucid Audio ENRICH Personal Sound Hearing Amplifier 

This Lucid Enrich is a great choice especially for those who are looking for a cheap hearing aid alternative. I'd recommend it for those who are just beginning to think about hearing aids or are experiencing early stages of hearing loss. Remember though, this is a alternative hearing aid / PSAP that costs less than $100.00 so set your expectations accordingly.

What I Like

  • Fits in either ear - left or right
  • 3 modes depending on the environment
  • Volume control up to 30 dB amplification
  • Improves sound with noise reduction, feedback cancellaton, and wind noise reduction
  • Weighs less than a 1/4 oz

What I Don't Like

  • There is no power switch - you have to take the battery out when not using it.
Lucid Enrich hearind aid alternative

My Rating:


Best Hearing Aid Alternative under $150.00

Williams Sound PockeTalker Ultra Duo Sound Amplifier

Walker Pocketalker hearing aid alternative

The Williams Sound PockeTalker is a different style of hearing amplifier. It is not worn in the ear. It is essentially a microphone, an amplifier, and headphones that sits on a table or in your pocket. The microphone picks up the sound, amplifies it, and sends it to the user through the headphones.

Suggested Uses

Because it works with a microphone and doesn't have to stay in the ear​, it is easy to move it closer to the sound the user is trying to hear. For example, it comes with a longer cord so that the microphone can be placed closer to the TV. This really helps with TV volume. Especially for family and friends who don't like the TV being so loud all the time.

Another good use for this style of hearing aid alternative is for small gatherings. Placing the receiver closer to the conversation allows the user to hear better. They will feel more included and not have to ask others to repeat themselves as often.​

Other Benefits

A device like this also benefits existing hearing aid users. Many hearing aid wearers complain about not being able to hear people up close. Because it can be used with or without traditional hearing aids, this device solves that problem.​

The user has a choice of headphones too. This set comes with both a full set of headphones and an ear bud. That way, the user can choose the best one for the situation.

Not Discreet, Though

There is nothing at all discreet though with the PockeTalker. So, it's probably not a good choice for people who are sensitive about their hearing loss. But for those who don't care that others see the device, this will improve their hearing. Especially in up close interactions.​

Additional Resources:

Review Summary and Recommendation

The PockeTalker Ultra is the best hearing aid alternative for up close interactions and TV watching. Most of the benefits to using this product come from the ability to move it closer to the source of the sound. However, this makes it much less discreet to use.

What I Like

  • Excellent for up close interactions
  • Great choice for hearing the TV better
  • Volume amplification up to 40 dB
  • Includes full headphones that fold up and an ear bud
  • Can be used with hearing aids as a booster

What I Don't Like

  • There is nothing discreet about using it for people who are sensitive about their hearing loss
  • The volume control is on the side of the receiver - difficult to get to it when it is in a pocket
Lucid Enrich hearind aid alternative

My Rating:


Best Hearing Aid Alternatives Overall

Runner-up: Sidekick - Bluetooth Wireless Personal Sound Amplifier

Sound World Solutions - Sidekick - Bluetooth Wireless Personal Sound Amplifier (Two Ear Bundle,...

My runner-up for the best hearing aid alternative is the Sidekick Personal Sound Amplifier from Sound World Solutions. This hearing device offers some very unique features found only in traditional hearing aids that cost thousands of dollars.

Bluetooth Capabilities

app for programming the sidekick hearing aid alternative

The Sidekick uses bluetooth to accomplish some pretty cool things. First, the device is customizable though a bluetooth app. Downloading the app to your favorite mobile device​ gives the ability to customize the settings and tweak it to suit the wearer. If the senior is tech friendly, it is easy to train them to do this themselves.

Because it is bluetooth enabled, this PSAP also plays music, audiobooks, podcasts and more right through the ear piece. Simply sync the amplifier up to a bluetooth enabled device and the senior can listen to their favorites.

Sound Modes

Bluetooth is not required to get better hearing though. The Sidekick comes with 3 pre-set sound modes​. These modes are:

  • Everyday mode that is programmable even more with the app
  • Restaurant mode filters out background noise like in restaurants or large social gatherings.
  • Entertainment modes for watching TV or going to the movies
hearing aid in the ear

More Discreet

This alternative to traditional hearing aids is more discreet than some of the others. Especially from the front. The largest part of the unit sits behind the ear and is connected to the ear by a clear tube. Seniors with longer hair behind the ears will be able to hide most of this unit from view.

Other Benefits

  • The Sidekick's battery is rechargeable and last about 18 hours a day - great for all day wearers. Takes about 2 hours to recharge fully.
  • Rather than annoying beeps, it uses voice prompts to confirm actions and guide the user through setting changes. 4 languages are available.
  • Love the Bluetooth capabilities discussed above
  • More discreet design than many of the ones I researched
  • Battery is rechargeable and lasts 18 hours a day
  • 3 Preprogrammed sound modes for different environments.
  • Voice prompts instead of annoying beeps for the wearer
  • Fits either ear 
  • Rechargeable battery has to be replaced by manufacturer for $45.00
  • The control box is a bit larger than traditional hearing aids and a bit heavier

The Sidekick offers some of the benefits of standard hearing aids that cost thousands. The Sidekick is not a cheap hearing aid alternative though and does cost more than the others above. But, it has unique features like programming through Bluetooth. 

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 11:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Winner: Otofonix Hearing Amplifier All Digital Personal Sound Amplifier

Otofonix Hearing Amplifier All Digital Volume Control Personal Sound Amplifier (Right Ear, Gray)

The Otofonix personal sound amplifier is by far the best of the hearing aid alternatives in my research. It is small and discreet, offers settings to tweak the sound amplification for the user, and they offer live tech support on the phone.

​Live Phone Support

This is one of the best features ​of this device. Otofonix has trained technicians that are only a phone call away to answer questions or walk you through settings and setup.

Multiple Configurations 

In addition to noise reduction and feedback cancellation, this PSAP offers 4 different pre-configured setting choices depending on where it is being worn:

  • ​Normal setting for everyday use
  • Noisy setting for loud background noise levels like restaurants or in large groups of talking people
  • Treble setting for reducing high-pitched annoying squeals and whistles
  • Quiet setting for preserving the battery in quiet environments

It offers 10 different volume levels as well.

Small Size and Custom Fit

This hearing aid alternative is very small - only 0.5" x 0.3" x 1" long. It only weighs 0.2 oz so it is extremely lightweight. It comes with multiple ear tips and tubes to give a more custom fit. However, it does not fit both ears and must be ordered in right ear or left ear configuration.​

  • Lots of sound modes and volume settings for the best sound
  • Small, light, with accessories to customize the fit
  • Live tech support hotline for questions and problems
  • Track record of outstanding online reviews from actual users
  • 30 day money-back guarantee
  • Not a major issue but must be ordered for the right or left side.
  • Uses disposable batteries that must be changed every 5-7 days

Even though the Sidekick above has a few more features, I am recommending the Otofonix as the best. Mainly because it as 10 times as many reviews online and has a 4.5 star rating. Some people are leary to buy devices like this online. But, the exceptional reviews and 30 day money-back guarantee make trying this one much less risky.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 11:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion and Recommendations

There are options to expensive hearing aid. Especially for people with low hearing loss or who just need a little boost. More affordable, cheap hearing aid alternatives like Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAP) can bridge the gap. Eventually a more traditional hearing aid might be required. Review your concerns with your doctor or audiologist.

So you have any experience with hearing aid alternatives you can share with my readers. Advice, questions, and even disagreements are always welcome here. Leave a comment below!​

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