The Best Hearing Amplifiers
Backed by an extensive warranty, Banglijian’s Ziv-201A is a durable hearing amplifier with high-end features at a great price point. It charges via USB, and users can select between normal sound amplification and a noise-canceling setting, which trims out excessive background noise while allowing the user to hear speech easily. Use the adjustable volume control to switch between five amplification levels with a peak gain of 53 decibels.
The Ziv-201A comes with a cleaning brush, a case, and an assortment of ear domes to ensure a great fit. There are also two kinds of “sound tubes,” one of which is designed to accommodate people who wear glasses. Altogether, this is an ideal kit for people with mild hearing loss, and while it’s expensive compared to other options on this list, it’s still quite affordable compared to prescription hearing aids.
- Great warranty and return policy
- Multiple sound tubes and ear domes provide plenty of flexibility
- Noise-canceling mode makes conversation easier in crowded environments
- Slightly more expensive than other options
- Maximum battery life of 20-24 hours on a full charge
- 3-year manufacturer warranty and 3-month hassle-free return policy
- Selection of sound tubes and ear domes allow use on the right or left ear
- Slim sound tubes can be worn with eyeglasses
- Five volume settings plus a noise-canceling function
- Memory feature retains program and volume selections when device is powered off
- Peak gain of 53 decibels
- Includes USB charger, cleaning brush, soft cloth, and shockproof case
- Brand: Banglijian
- Size: 1.4x 0.4x 0.3 inches, 3.7 grams
The main draw of this behind-the-ear hearing amplifier from Coniler is its integrated DSP intelligent sound chip, which applies dynamic compression to reduce background noise while allowing the user to hear more naturally. Coniler provides six ear domes that vary in size, but not in design—they all result in a slightly muffled sound, and some buyers choose to replace the ear domes with aftermarket options to improve sound quality.
This hearing amplifier’s battery lasts for up to 20 hours per charge, and the attractive charging dock automatically powers off at the end of the charging cycle. The device also comes with two sound tubes (one for the right ear and one for the left), and its thin profile makes it comfortable for regular use.
- Intelligent sound processing for easier conversation recognition
- Attractive and convenient charger base
- Comfortable, lightweight, and easy to use
- Modes for quiet and loud surrounding environments
- 45 day money back guarantee
- Shorter battery life than other behind-the-ear options
- Some users were dissatisfied with the included ear domes
- Maximum acoustic gain of 41 decibels
- Rechargeable battery lasts for up to 20 hours
- Includes magnetic charger base and USB adapter
- Smart language processing technology can help improve speech recognition
- Includes six ear domes (tips), two tubes (left and right), a cleaning brush, and a case
- Brand: Coniler
- Size: Product size and dimensions not listed, 12-ounce shipping weight
While this amplifier has a small profile, there’s a tradeoff; it isn’t quite as powerful as behind-the-ear options, and there’s no rechargeable battery. For most people with mild hearing loss, the 40 decibel peak sound gain offered by this Laiwen digital hearing amplifier will provide enough of a boost to hear conversation in crowded environments, and the removable batteries aren’t too obnoxious—each #312 battery provides up to a week of reliable operation.
The device also offers three listening modes, which can be cycled by holding a small button on the side. Users can attenuate either mid, hi, or low frequencies to accommodate different types of hearing loss or to improve the device’s functionality in louder environments.
- Low profile fits into ear discreetly
- Long battery life—lasts up to a week
- Multiple listening modes for different environments
- Inexpensive option for users who don't need a more powerful device
- Peak gain is low compared with some options
- Requires regular purchase of #312 cell-type batteries
- Peak gain of 40 decibels
- Includes six ear domes, five wax guards, a case, and a cleaning brush
- Requires #312 cell-type batteries (two included)
- Nine volume settings and three listening modes
- 5-7 day battery life
- Manufacturer offers one-year warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee
- Brand: Laiwen
- Size: 0.9” x 0.5? x 0.4?, 4 grams
Blomed’s digital hearing amplifier has a basic behind-the-ear design, but it uses a removable A13 battery. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—a single A13 battery provides about 10 days of functionality with regular use—but some users will prefer the convenience of a rechargeable model.
The amplifier has four compression modes, which make listening easier in different types of environments, along with volume controls for each of the modes. It also comes with a cleaning brush and storage case, but it only includes three ear domes (called “earpieces” in the product literature).
- A single battery provides up to 10 days of amplification
- Simple, intuitive controls allow for easy operation
- Four different compression modes help to reduce background noise
- Only includes three ear domes
- Some users may prefer rechargeable batteries to removable batteries
- Manufacturer offers 2-year after-sales support
- Requires A13 battery (included)
- Includes a cleaning brush, storage case, and three earpieces
- Four signal processing modes for eliminating background noise in different environments
- Brand: Blomed
- Size: 1.6 ounces (shipping weight)
One of the more inexpensive options on this list, Aldmfront’s hearing enhancer has four listening modes, a rechargeable battery, and a built-in noise-compression chip. The controls on the side of the hearing amplifier are relatively straightforward and intuitive, and the sound tube can be worn comfortably on either ear.
The device comes with four different ear domes, and regular users say that it’s comfortable to wear. It doesn’t come with a case, but that’s understandable given its low price tag. We only wish that the manufacturer included more information on the amplifier’s technical specifications.
- Inexpensive behind-the-ear amplifier with multiple sound modes
- Lithium ion battery is rechargeable and lasts up to 80 hours
- Can be worn comfortably on either ear
- Bulkier and more noticeable than other options
- Four frequency modes for different listening environments
- Includes four ear domes, a USB charger cable, and a cleaning brush
- Volume wheel allows for easy adjustments
- Brand: Aldmfront
- Size: Product size and weight are not listed; 6.4-ounce shipping weight
These earbud-style hearing amplifiers are easy to operate and can help users with mild to moderate hearing challenges. A single button turns the hearing amplifiers on and controls the volume. The earbuds charge right in their case, making them a convenient and portable option.
The unit comes with 3 different sizes of earplugs, a cleaning brush and stick, the charging box, and a USB charging cable. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 12 hours and the unit only takes about 2 hours to charge. The slim carrying case can be easily slipped into a bag or a pocket so these are always with you whenever you need them.
- Lightweight and comfortable earbud style amplifiers
- 3 earplug sizes for a secure fit
- Earbuds charge in their carrying case for maximum portability
- Small earbuds can be easily lost
- Not as much amplification as other models
- Adjustable amplification modes
- Active noise reduction function to block background noise
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 12 hours
- Single-button operation
- Brand: OneBridge
Our Best Hearing Amplifiers Guide
According to the FDA (link opens a PDF), less than 20 percent of people afflicted by hearing loss seek treatment. That’s unfortunate, as hearing amplifiers can provide great value for a relatively small investment.
Here are some of the most common questions regarding non-prescription hearing amplifiers, along with information to help you make the best possible purchase for your situation.
Do non-prescription hearing amplifiers work as well as prescription hearing aids?
Hearing amplifiers can be helpful, but prescription aids are typically customized for individual patients. That means that prescription options tend to be more effective for treating severe hearing loss.
As we mentioned earlier, the distinction is important; the FDA is clear that over-the-counter products are not the same thing as hearing aids. However, non-prescription hearing amplifiers are much less expensive, and for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, they can provide sufficient amplification to make everyday interactions much easier.
Should I speak with my doctor before buying a hearing amplifier?
Non-prescription hearing amplifiers are easy to operate and safe when used properly. They are even regulated for safety when it comes to output. With that said, you should get an assessment with a qualified audiologist as soon as you notice hearing issues, as it’s important to determine the cause (or causes) of your hearing impairment and get a personalized treatment recommendation.
What do decibel ratings mean?
Hearing problems are assessed in terms of a decibel range (written on audiology exams as “dB HL”). People who have lost from 26 to 40 decibels of hearing have a mild degree of hearing loss, while people who have lost from 41 to 44 decibels have a moderate degree.
To put those numbers into perspective, normal conversation occurs at about 60 to 70 decibels. Regardless of what you’re experiencing, you’ll need an examination from a qualified audiologist to assess your degree of hearing loss.
Hearing device amplification is also assessed in terms of decibels. If you have a hearing loss range of about 40 db HL, an amplifier that offers 40 decibels of amplification should allow you to hear normally. One important note: Because non-prescription hearing amplifiers aren’t fitted to your ear, they may not provide their full amplification potential, particularly if worn with a poorly fitting dome that doesn’t fully block out background noises.
What should I know before using my hearing amplifier for the first time?
You’ll need some time to get used to the experience of wearing a hearing amplifier, so don’t expect an immediately improved experience. Many older adults lose their hearing gradually, and suddenly restored hearing can be slightly uncomfortable.
You may have trouble filtering out speech from normal environmental sounds, and you might feel overwhelmed or exhausted at first as there’s increased demand on your sense of hearing. After a few weeks, your body will make adjustments, and you’ll be able to wear the device for longer periods without discomfort.
Be sure to clean your hearing amplifier regularly and in accordance with the device’s instructions. As sound tubes are worn in the user’s ear canal, they can increase the risks of ear infections if they aren’t sanitized properly. Fortunately, most hearing amplifiers come with cleaning brushes, cases, and other accessories that make this process easy.
Do I really need a hearing amplifier?
If you’re asking this question, you probably know the answer. Here’s the good news: Studies have shown that the vast majority of hearing aid users report satisfaction with their devices, and hearing amplifiers offer a similar benefit at a lower price.
In other words, if you’re living with hearing loss—or if you’ve seen hearing impairment affect a loved one—a hearing aid can make an extraordinary difference. To get the best possible results, speak with your physician before making your purchase, but don’t put off treatment. A properly fitted device can greatly improve your quality of life, and given the low cost and high-end features of modern options, there’s never been a better time to address hearing issues.