by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man asked,
Any comments about these over the counter devices like the Sound Hawk?
In case you don’t know, the Sound Hawk is an ear-level personal amplifier. I think the concept is good, but there are limitations that you need to know before you rush out and purchase one.
First, there is no indication how much amplification it has, so if you have a significant hearing loss, it may not have enough amplification for you.
Second, this is not a hearing aid (they have to say that to keep the government agencies off their backs), but I think it will help people with mild hearing losses and maybe those with moderate losses.
Third, you can’t use this device with hearing aids.
Fourth, you only hear in one ear. Note, you hear and understand much better when you hear with both ears at once. I don’t think there is a way to program/use this device in both ears at the same time.
Fifth, the remote microphone is a cool idea and could really help you hear a person talking in noisy places if placed close enough to the speaker’s lips.
Sixth, it looks like a Bluetooth device so won’t draw attention to itself as a hearing aid. People will just assume you are using a Bluetooth headset (and indeed, it does double as a Bluetooth headset). For people that are trying to hide their hearing loss, it is much more visible than today’s unobtrusive hearing aids.
Seventh, I like how easy it is to set the frequency response (tone) via a smart phone—but you have to have a smart phone in the first place in order to set it up.
All in all, it could be a help to those with milder hearing losses—especially in noisier situations.
The price is not too bad at $279.00.
You can learn more about the Sound Hawk here.