Is a Hearing Aid just an Amplifier? There is a major difference between the two which is important to understand!

As you navigate a hearing loss it can be difficult to discern what is the best treatment method for you and your hearing loss. There are lots of terms like hearing aid or amplifier. You may be confused about the difference between a hearing aid and an amplifier. There is a major difference between the two and it is important to understand the difference as you decide what is best for you!

Hearing Aid

A hearing aid is a medical device that can be dispensed by licensed professionals. These devices are not like glasses or “one size fits all” they are highly individualized for a specific person and their hearing loss. A hearing aid has a certain prescription based on the results of your hearing tests. This means the device is not designed to make every single frequency or sound louder but gives you specific boosts in the areas where you have greater hearing loss. Hearing aids can be specifically programmed and readjusted by a professional to give you the most benefit, even in difficult listening environments. A hearing aid is like a very special computer that has lots of software designed to ease listening for the user while also making sounds more audible.


  • Medical Device
  • Needs to be dispensed by a professional
  • Highly individualized


An amplifier is not a medical device and does not need to be dispensed by a licensed professional. These are typically the devices that are designed to be one size fits all and are marketed on the television or in print. Hearing loss unfortunately is not a one size fits all problem. Amplifiers are not designed to be highly specialized for a user. They are designed to make every sound louder. This is not always the best option when you are trying to have a better understanding of speech. All sounds, even sounds you may be able to hear without the amplifier will become louder.


  • One size fits all
  • Makes all sounds louder
  • Not regulated by professionals

So how do you know what the best option is for you?

Typically it is best to have your hearing tested by a professional who then can go over your options. It is important to remember the major difference between them is that one is a medical device that is tailored to a specific person and the other is not.

What next?

Head to your local hearing care professional to learn more about what the best option is for you!