Hearing Aids Comparisons: Getting a Cheap One Worth Buying?

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
Hearing Aids Comparisons: Getting a Cheap One Worth Buying?

Even though many people aren’t aware of this, there is more than one solution to improving hearing loss. People looking for a reasonably priced solution need to be able to recognize the difference between “cheap hearing aids” and “affordable hearing aids.” At NANO hearing aids, we always strive to make affordable hearing aids without compromising quality and technology.

Once a person has established hearing loss after visiting a specialist or audiologist, the solution they may offer is usually way over-priced for the average American and prices range between $1,000 and $3,000. That is for one hearing aid only and research shows that wearing one device is not as effective as having sound enhanced from both ears.

Americans with age-related hearing loss need to know that these expensive hearing aids are not the only solution to hearing better. Affordable digital hearing aids are also available in the medium-price range for a safe and improved quality of hearing. On the other hand, very cheap hearing aids have proven to be as harmful as not wearing any hearing aids at all.

After reading this article, consumers will understand the difference between the excellent quality of affordable digital hearing aids and the dangers of cheap devices.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss is the Most Common

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Credit: Speech and Hearing Associates

There are three types of hearing loss, and the treatment for each depends on which part of the ear has been damaged, and the degree of hearing loss incurred.

The leading causes of sensorineural hearing loss - are aging, years of exposure to loud sounds, certain medications, some illnesses, and it may be inherited.

Hearing aids are the best way to correct this type of hearing loss which cannot be corrected with medications or surgery.


What are Cheap Hearing Aids?

Sensorineural hearing loss needs sound amplification of the higher sound frequencies. These frequencies range from approximately 1,000Hz and above and include the range of speech from most children, half the female voices, and the uppermost range of men’s speech. Unfortunately, very cheap hearing aids cannot amplify these higher frequencies.

Usually, these cheap hearing devices cost $50 - $100 and their price alone indicates that these are not hearing aids. They are called personal sound amplification devices (PSAPs) and are available in some retail stores and over the internet. The devices will appear in searches for “inexpensive hearing aids." They may be described as follows “rechargeable sound aids”, “sound amplifier aids”, “hearing amplifier aids’, “digital hearing amplifiers”, and “personal sound enhancement device.” Other variations are also used.

Some sellers of these devices may try and sell them as FDA approved, even though they don’t meet the required standards, and unlawfully call these PSAPs hearing aids. These cheap devices are not hearing aids.

How to Recognize the Difference Between a PSA and a Medical-Grade Hearing Aid

How to Recognize the Difference Between a PSA and a Medical-Grade Hearing Aid


When buying affordable quality hearing aids, consumers need to beware of the following characteristic:

  • Sound amplification occurs equally across all sounds. Unfortunately, this means that the frequencies most needed, those over 1,000 HZ are not specially targeted like they are in medical-grade hearing aids.
  • Lack of advanced features means that these devices cannot distinguish background noises above voice frequencies, and they usually send loud feedback noises into the ear.
  • An absence of smartphone compatibility and the absence of telecoils mean that they also lack other multiple settings for different environments. That means the user has very minimal use from them, especially in restaurants, theatres, etc.
  • Not medically designed or FDA registered means that they cannot meet the rigid standards required for adequate hearing aids.

Cheap hearing aids: Conclusion and Warnings

Anyone who wants to improve their hearing loss should not consider buying these cheap hearing aids. They are designed to amplify all surrounding sounds, making it difficult for the person to distinguish what others are saying because of all the amplified background noise. This is because they cannot pick up the frequencies required. This sound amplification creates a very noisy environment in the ears and has been proven to promote hearing loss further.

Hearing can be improved, but not with these devices. Other affordable hearing aids are FDA registered and offer all the features for an enhanced hearing experience.

What are Affordable Hearing Aids?

Affordable hearing aids usually cost between $400 and $1,200 for a pair and are designed to address the amplification needs of people with hearing loss.

Manufacturers of affordable hearing aids keep their prices low because they want to make hearing assistance devices available to everyone.

Dominance by just a few hearing aid manufacturers over the last five decades ensured that the prices of these hearing devices remained high. The competition heated up with the advent of digital technology becoming more freely available to all. Smaller hearing aid manufacturers can now implement this technology, making it more freely available.

Many of the new hearing devices come with different sound settings and some are self-adjusting. This means that a visit to a specialist or audiologist is no longer needed.

The internet has allowed companies to sell directly to their consumers, thereby cutting out the need for representative sellers (audiologists, ENT specialists, and retailers like private enterprises and Costco) and the usual mark-up that this entails.

Hearing Aids

How does the Middleman Affect Hearing Aid Prices?

For those unsure about the cause of their hearing problem, a doctor’s appointment is still recommended. However, millions of Americans have age-related hearing loss.

That means that those on a budget and know their problem can avoid paying for expensive appointments at doctors and audiologists.

Nano hearing aids are FDA approved and can be ordered directly online, ensuring no middleman profits from the transaction. These markups raise prices excessively.

The person can fine-tune all Nano hearing aids at home, which is impossible with expensive hearing aids. 

Other Affordable Hearing Aids

Besides Nano digital hearing aids, a few other companies are currently offering quality FDA-approved affordable hearing aids. Many are new without much reviews from consumers yet:

Widex has a variety of styles available, and they fall within the mid-price range. They can only be programmed by an audiologist or remotely by the company and they are effective for mild to severe hearing loss.

Eargo hearing aids do not need to be programmed by an audiologist. They are in the higher-priced bracket of affordable hearing aids, but these are all in-the-canal styles and seem more suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.

LifeEar has behind-the-ear style hearing aids that are suitable for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. They are in the mid-priced range and don’t need to be programmed by an audiologist.

HearingAssist is rechargeable affordable hearing aids that are self-programmable.

Costco hearing aids have hearing assistance centers at some of its branches, and it carries a wide range of affordable hearing aids. These are quite expensive compared to other affordable brands and can usually not be self-adjusted, but need to be done by the audiologist at the in-store service.

MDHearingAid has affordable behind-the-ear hearing aids that are used for mild to severe hearing loss. They do not need to be programmed by an audiologist.

Here is what Americans say about the NANO brand:

Comparing Expensive and Affordable Hearing Aids

Recent studies have done on hearing aids comparisons between expensive and affordable hearing aids, and their conclusions appear to be quite interesting. According to the results from a study that compared the ability of people with age-related hearing problems to hear from both affordable and expensive devices, the costly devices had only slightly better hearing results.

In the study conducted in 2017, the 42 adults were first tested to ensure that they did have hearing loss. They were then offered an expensive device, normally sold by audiologists. The next phase included five affordable hearing aids available online and in stores and costing on average $350 each.

Since only one-fourth of Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids, these affordable digital hearing aids will allow far more people access to a better quality of life in their old age. An increased hearing has also been proven to reduce the risk of age-related depression and degenerative neural diseases

These affordable hearing devices allow far more people to have access to hearing assistance than ever before and they compare favorably with expensive devices.

Affordable Hearing Aid Conclusion

Affordable hearing aids may cost a bit more than cheap hearing aids, but they instantly lift the quality of life of their users, making them an invaluable investment.

Nano digital hearing aids have a range of features that include amplification settings, background noise cancelation, directional microphones, and telecoil technology. Hearing aid wearers who are also tech-savvy can choose Bluetooth and smartphone compatible device.

Comparable technology found on expensive hearing aids, while offering the same sound performance makes Nano digital hearing aids a smart choice.

These Nano digital hearing aid technologies are augmented with a 45-day money-back guarantee so that the hearing aids can be tested suitably. A warranty ensures the replacement devices or their parts that have manufacturing faults. Excellent customer service ensures that if any hearing aid needs repairs, they can be done in a matter of days, and replacement parts are always available.

Affordable hearing aids ensure that more people can improve their hearing, allowing them to lead an everyday life once more.



Nano Hearing Aids has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial privacy policy.

Research by Nicholas S. Reed, AuD, Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, Department of Otolaryngology https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2635618?resultClick=1

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

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