Updated Nov 2, 2017:
We’ve updated some of our top picks to include the Banglijian Hearing Amplifier Rechargeable Ziv-201.
Based on overwhelming positive feedback from our readers, we’ve also changed our budget pick to the Britzgo BHA-220. This unit’s popularity surprised us!
Behind the ear style amplifiers are designed to look like hearing aids. Companies that sell personal sound amplifiers are not allowed to call these types of devices hearing aids, but some of the higher end amplifiers use similar types of components and technology that hearing aids use, but for a much lower cost.
There is a huge difference in the quality of the various types of sound devices that are on the market. You can get very cheap behind the ear products that are virtually useless, all the way up to very great quality devices that cost from $300-$400 per ear. When you are shopping for a behind the ear style of amplifier look for products that are lightweight and comfortable, offer high sound quality, and allow you to customize the sound to your personal listening preference.
If you would like to see all of our top picks for different styles of amplifiers see our Best Hearing Amplifiers Buying Guide.
Best Products 2017
|Empower||#1||Read the Full Review||Amazon|
|Otofonix||#2||Read the Full Review||Amazon|
|iHEAR MAX High Definition Hearing Device||#3||Read the Full Review||Amazon|
|Digital Hearing Amplifier by Britzgo BHA-220||#4||Read the Full Review||Amazon|
|Banglijian Hearing Amplifier Rechargeable Ziv-201||#5||Read the full review||Amazon|
Empower Personal Audio Amplifier
Empower is as close as you can get to a hearing aid without actually buying a hearing aid. At a cost of around $350 per ear, Empower makes a suitable alternative, for those who are unable or unwilling to spend many thousands of dollars to buy a hearing aid. Read the Full Review
Digital Hearing Amplifier by Britzgo BHA-220
If you are looking for an inexpensive hearing amplifier, this is a great option to consider. It only costs around $60 but many people are finding it helpful to hear the TV and to have conversations with friends and family. It has 4 different frequency modes, an on/off button and volume control. You can wear it in either ear. Read the Full Review
Features to Look for in Behind the Ear Amplifier
The most important feature when looking for a personal sound amplifier is that you get a comfortable fit. If you do not have a comfortable fit you most likely won’t wear the amplifier. The top brands tend to be very small and lightweight and should come with different ear domes that will allow you to find the fit that is best for you. As with almost all hearing aids and other behind the ear sound amplifiers, it takes patience and time in order for any of these types of devices to feel comfortable.
The designs of behind the ear styles are, for the most part, very similar between the different brands. You have the body of the device that will sit behind your ear connected to clear tubing that runs from the body of the device to an ear dome that you will place into your ear canal. Most brands come with a few different options of ear domes to fit different sized ears.
Technology for the higher end sound amplifiers is improving at a fairly rapid rate, which means that the sound quality is also getting better. In many cases the sound quality for some brands is on par with some very expensive hearing aids. All amplifiers amplify sound around them and most of the higher end brands also have noise cancelling technology. Some have specific setting for different types of situations you may find yourself in.
It is very important that you pay particular attention to the warranty of any amplifier that you are considering purchasing. Since there are a lot of different types of hearing loss, products that work really well for other people may not work so well for your type of hearing loss.
The battery life between the different types of amplifiers can vary quite a bit. Many behind the ear models run on various sizes of zinc batteries and the battery life can range from 7 days to around 20 days.
Some of the newest models of amplifiers that are coming out are including the ability to customize the sound of the device to a greater degree than ever before. At the very minimum, you should look for a device that lets you control not only the volume but the tone as well, another great thing to look for are different settings that let you hear different frequencies.
Budget hearing amplifier generally don’t give you an option to customize the sound too much.