The Very Best Personal Sound Amplification Product

Hearing aids cost thousands of dollars, which is in part why only some 20 percent of Americans with hearing loss use them. For those with moderate hearing loss, private audio amplification products (PSAPs) can be nearly as effective at around a fifth of the purchase price. We analyzed five PSAPs, also found that the Sound World Solutions CS50 are the best for most people. It improves hearing nearly as much as a hearing help in some scenarios; it is also the easiest to program, and it has a longer return period compared to many. Much like hearing loss aids, no PSAP will work nicely for everybody, and purchasing for one requires some trial and error.

Our pick

Sound World Solutions CS50+
Sound World Solutions CS50

The best PSAP

The CS50 has improved, more-customizable sound quality compared to nearly all other options we analyzed. It also offers a Bluetooth connection for taking calls and streaming music, and more battery life than other, similar apparatus.

If you are interested in trying a PSAP, we recommend the Audio Planet Solutions CS50 , which enhanced sound perception nearly and a hearing aid within an independent sound-booth evaluation  that researchers recently conducted. Unlike most of the competition, it lets you program it to fit your specific hearing requirements: Using an accompanying program, you can adjust the volumes of their treble, mid, and bass frequencies individually. It’s the only PSAP we considered that provides a quick hearing test that will help you find out which settings work best for you personally. A Bluetooth link allows you to listen to songs or take phone calls with the device. The CS50 ‘s battery life is 18 hours, making it the only Bluetooth-enabled PSAP we analyzed that can endure for a complete day of use. It seems more like a hearing aid than the usual headset, which feels much less awkward for in-person discussions. Sound World Solutions offers a return period of 45 days (longer than most), giving you more time to check the device before deciding whether it is ideal for you. Though the CS50 is more expensive than a lot of the models we considered, this particular device–such as all PSAPs–remains considerably more affordable than most hearing aids.

If you do not care about taking your PSAP to listen to songs or take calls, then consider the Tweak Focus. The Focus lacks Bluetooth but is a lot more discreet and comfortable to use than the competition (including our best pick), and it has a longer battery life, also. But, researchers discovered it less effective than our top selection in their sound-booth evaluation, and it provides minimal programmability. It is somewhat flexible, using a mode for silent situations (for instance, working in an office) and a style for noisier situations (like meeting friends at a pub), presets for different ranges of hearing loss. Pricewise, the Focus falls at the middle of this PSAP pack. Tweak’s return interval is 30 days, that is average and less generous compared to our top pick’s policy. If you often make telephone calls, you might prefer the slightly pricier Focus T, which may connect to a phone via telecoil.

Of all the devices we attempted, the Nuheara IQbuds sounded the very best and had the many choices for customization, with seven preset listening modes for various environments in addition to the capacity to adjust whether treble or bass frequencies are highlighted. We would happily swap those earbuds in for conventional wireless headphones in many situations, which can be more than we could say of most PSAPs, including our best pick. They seem like wireless headphones; while still wearing them, we found it embarrassing to have conversations with people who were not conscious that they amplified external noises. However, the battery life is terrible: The buds need to be recharged after about five hours should you use them both to hear and to stream music or take calls via Bluetooth. We also discovered that the onboard controls were easy to hit accidentally. Researchers haven’t yet assessed how the IQbuds stack up against hearing loss aids. Nuheara’s return period is the typical 30 days.

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