What's the difference between hearables and hearing aids?
New smart wireless technologies mean that there are now more sound enhancing products available to purchase. In this article, we explore the key differences between our digital hearing aids and hearables.
What is a hearable?
Hearables is the new name for smart wireless technologies found in earbuds which allow for enhancement of sound.
Scotland’s National Health Service (NHS) recently defined hearables as “Devices that are primarily intended to allow streaming of media to the device but also offer a hearing enhancing function not dissimilar to a hearing aid.”
So, what exactly is the difference between a hearable and hearing aid?
The most obvious difference is that a hearable doesn’t look like a traditional hearing aid, instead many look like mainstream wireless earbuds.
The way the devices amplify sound also differs. Hearable amplification strategies are only suited to those who have mild-moderate hearing loss, whereas hearing aids are suited to those who have mild through to very significant hearing loss.
Traditionally, hearable devices have been distributed through online stores and configured by the user at home, whereas hearing aids are purchased from, and programmed by, a professional audiologist.
However, at Your Hearing Consultants, we believe hearables have a valid and exciting new role to play in the field of hearing health, and that is why we include them in our portfolio of hearing solutions.
Despite hearing aids being offered free of charge on the NHS, sadly, only 1 in 5 people who experience a hearing problem wear a hearing aid. Therefore, we see hearables as providing an important bridge between undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss and a customised audiologist fitted hearing aid.
There is some concern among audiologists that those purchasing hearables online may not be treating their hearing loss appropriately, or are at risk of not programming the device for the best results.
At Your Hearing Consultants, we offer a customised care package with all our hearable devices. We always recommend that our clients undergo a full diagnostic hearing assessment to determine whether a hearable is the best option for them, and then, for those who are not confident in setting up their new hearable, we offer individualised assistance.
Hearables have normalised the wearing of hearing devices, with many people utilising them for phone calls or streaming music and media. Happily, this has reduced the perceived stigma associated with wearing hearing aids.
Plus, with technology giants such as Apple, Bose, and Jabra offering ear buds which enhance both real world and digital sound, the hearables space is only going to get smarter in the future.
If you would like to speak with one of our audiology team to find out if our hearables range may be suitable for you, please contact us for a FREE telephone consultation.