Tested: Can Regular Bluetooth Earbuds Be Used as Hearing Aids?

During this first year that over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids became available, four major types of solutions for those with mild to moderate hearing loss have emerged:

  • Self-fitting hearing aids: In- or over-the-ear models certified by the FDA as Class II medical devices meant to mimic and replace prescription hearing aids from an audiologist
  • Self-fitting Bluetooth hearing aids: Standard Bluetooth buds that double as OTC hearing aids certified by the FDA as Class II medical devices
  • Non-self-fitting in- or over-the-ear models certified by the FDA as Class II medical devices: These OTC hearing aids can’t be customized for a wearer’s specific hearing loss but provide situational presets and other technologies to improve and boost hearing
  • Personal Sound Amplification Devices (PSAD): Non-FDA certified devices that simply and indiscriminately make all ambient sound louder

However, a potential fifth class of “hearing aid” has recently emerged – standard Bluetooth earbuds that amplify ambient sounds, not just let sound through.

Read the rest of this report here at Techlicious.com.

About Stewart Wolpin

I have been writing about consumer electronics for four decades, including news, reviews, analysis and history for a wide variety of consumer, niche and trade outlets. For the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), I annually update the industry's history and write the official biographies of the CTA Hall of Fame inductees. Aside from writing about consumer technology for a variety of consumer, tech and trade publications, I write a blog and do market research for Digital Technology Consulting. In the non-tech world, I have written "Bums No More: The Championship Season of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers" and "The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle." Check out my work at www.stewartwolpin.com.
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