In the world of hearing solutions, one question has been echoing louder than ever: Is Eargo a hearing aid or amplifier? This seemingly straightforward query has led to a myriad of opinions and discussions, leaving many individuals with hearing loss in a state of uncertainty. The importance of understanding the distinction between hearing aids and amplifiers cannot be overstated. It’s not just about semantics; it’s about ensuring that those in need receive the right kind of assistance for their unique hearing challenges.

Eargo, with its rising prominence in the market, has been at the center of this debate. Is Eargo a good hearing aid? Are Eargo hearing aids any good? These are just a few of the frequently asked questions that individuals grapple with when considering Eargo as a potential solution. In this article, we’ll embark on a journey to demystify the confusion surrounding Eargo’s classification. By delving deep into Eargo’s background, examining the evidence, and referencing Eargo’s official stance, we aim to provide a clear and comprehensive answer.

Join us as we navigate the intricate landscape of hearing solutions, shedding light on the true nature of Eargo, and emphasizing the significance of accurate information in making informed decisions about hearing aids and amplifiers.

Understanding Eargo

Eargo is not just another name in the hearing solutions market; it’s a brand that has garnered significant attention and curiosity. Established in USA with a mission to revolutionize the way people think about hearing aids, Eargo has positioned itself as a modern, innovative solution for those with hearing loss. Its sleek design, user-friendly features, and promise of enhanced auditory experiences have made it a popular choice among many. But the question still remains: Is Eargo a hearing aid or an amplifier?

To answer this, it’s crucial first to understand the fundamental differences between hearing aids and amplifiers:

Hearing Aids: These are medical devices designed to improve hearing by mainly amplifying sounds. They are tailored to an individual’s specific hearing loss pattern, ensuring that sounds are not just louder but clearer. Hearing aids undergo rigorous testing and are regulated by health authorities. They are often prescribed by audiologists after a thorough hearing assessment and they intend to make up for impaired hearing.

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Amplifiers: Often referred to as Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs), amplifiers are electronic devices that increase the volume of sounds. Unlike hearing aids, they are not customized to an individual’s hearing loss and they are usually intended for people with normal hearing who would like to amplify sounds in certain situations, such as birdwatching or hunting. They simply make everything louder, which might not be beneficial for all users, especially the ones with hearing impairment.

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Given these definitions, where does Eargo fit in? As we delve deeper into the article, we’ll explore Eargo’s official stance and the evidence supporting its classification. But for now, it’s essential to recognize the importance of distinguishing between these two types of devices. Making an informed choice requires understanding what each device offers and how it aligns with an individual’s unique hearing needs.

Eargo’s Official Stance On Hearing Aid Or Amplifier

While trying to classify Eargo, the most authoritative voice to consider is that of the FDA – the US Food & Drug Administration – which is the only governmental body in the United States with the authority to classify and decide on classification of medical devices. Eargo gained FDA 510K approval for its Eargo 5 and Eargo 6 devices on December 21, 2022. Subsequently, on February of 2023, Eargo launched its Eargo 7 device as its third over-the-counter, self-fitting hearing aid. This distinction is crucial, as it sets Eargo apart from a myriad of other devices in the market that merely amplify sound without any customization.

But what makes Eargo’s hearing aids stand out? One of the defining features of Eargo’s hearing aids is their ability to provide selective sound amplification for specific frequencies.

Image Credit: Eargo’s “Sound Match” Feature

Unlike generic amplifiers that uniformly boost all sounds, Eargo’s hearing aids are designed to amplify certain frequencies more than others, ensuring that users hear what they need to hear without being overwhelmed by unnecessary noise. This selective amplification is tailored to address common patterns of age-related hearing loss, where certain frequencies become harder to hear than others.

In essence, Eargo’s official stance, combined with their technology’s ability to selectively amplify sounds, firmly establishes their devices as hearing aids. They are not just making sounds louder; they are enhancing auditory experiences by making them clearer and more discernible for those with hearing loss.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing AidsPrescription Hearing Aids
(Any hearing aids that do not meet OTC requirements)
Personal Sound Amplification Products
Type of ProductMedical device
Electronic product
Medical device
Electronic product
Electronic product
Intended Users• People 18 years and older
• For those with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss
• People of any age, including those younger than 18 years
• For people with any degree of hearing loss, including severe
• People of any age with normal hearing to amplify sounds in certain environments
Conditions for Sale• Purchaser must be 18 years or older
• No medical exam
Conditions for Sale
• No prescription
• No fitting by audiologist
• No need for licensed seller
• Prescription needed
• Must purchase from licensed seller in some states
• No applicable FDA requirements regarding conditions for sale

In conclusion and citing from their support page [2]: “The FDA defines a hearing aid as a sound-amplifying device intended to compensate for impaired hearing. Eargo 6, Eargo 5, Eargos Neo and Neo HiFi hearing aids are FDA Registered Exempt Class II medical devices (Eargo Max is FDA Registered Exempt Class I medical device) intended for individuals 18 years old or older with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss”.

Let’s have a look at some of the key features of Eargo devices [3]: 

  • Affordability: Eargo hearing aids are cost-effective compared to many competitors. They also offer flexible monthly payment plans, making them accessible for a wide range of budgets.
  • Discreet Design: Designed to fit directly into the ear canal, Eargo hearing aids are almost invisible, eliminating potential awkward conversations about them. Many users even find themselves highlighting their discreet nature to others.
  • Comfort and Stability: Crafted with Flexi Fibers, these hearing aids comfortably sit in the ear without blocking the canal entirely. They appear as if they’re floating within the ear but remain secure even during moderate physical activities.
  • Sound Enhancement: While allowing bass to pass through naturally, Eargo enhances treble sounds. Unlike some other models, Eargo amplifies sounds from the front rather than from behind, offering a more focused auditory experience.
  • Rechargeable Batteries: Eargo hearing aids come with rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need for frequent and costly replacements. The USB-powered carrying case provided not only stores the aids but also charges them, making it convenient for users on the move.

Is Eargo A Hearing Aid Or Amplifier Conclusion

Is Eargo a hearing aid or amplifier?

As we draw our exploration to a close, it’s essential to revisit and consolidate the evidence we’ve gathered. From reputable sources, including the US Food & Drug Administration (see Eargo’s FDA 510K approval here) and Eargo’s official support page, to the technical nuances of how their devices function, the evidence overwhelmingly supports one unequivocal conclusion: Eargo is a hearing aid, not merely an amplifier. Furthermore, it is an over-the-counter, self-fitting hearing aid that adjusts itself to the individual hearing loss of its user.

This distinction is more than just a matter of terminology. It’s about the quality of life, the clarity of sound, and the personalized auditory experience that Eargo offers its users. Amplifiers, or PSAPs, have their place in the auditory landscape, but they cannot provide the tailored experience that a hearing aid like Eargo can. By selectively amplifying specific frequencies, Eargo ensures that users don’t just hear louder, but they hear better.

In an age where information is abundant, yet often conflicting, it’s paramount that individuals have access to accurate and clear data. Making informed decisions about one’s hearing health hinges on understanding the true nature of the devices they are considering. And as we’ve established, Eargo stands firm in its classification as a genuine hearing aid.

Disclaimer and Closing

While this article has endeavored to provide clarity on the classification of Eargo, it’s essential to note that the content herein is informational. It is not intended as medical advice or a substitute for professional recommendations. Every individual’s hearing needs are unique, and what works for one person might not be suitable for another.

If you or a loved one are considering Eargo or any other hearing solution, it’s always best to consult with healthcare professionals or audiologists. They can provide personalized recommendations based on specific hearing profiles and ensure that you make the best decision for your auditory health.

In conclusion, while Eargo has been firmly established as a hearing aid in our exploration, always prioritize professional guidance when it comes to your hearing health.

References

[1] Eargo. Eargo is a hearing aid, not an amplifier or a PSAP. Retrieved from https://help.eargo.com/en/articles/4196693-eargo-is-a-hearing-aid-not-an-amplifier-or-a-psap

[2] Memorial Hearing. Is Eargo a good hearing aid? Retrieved from https://www.memorialhearing.com/blog/is-eargo-a-good-hearing-aid/

[3] Hearing Tracker. Is Eargo a hearing aid or PSAP? Retrieved from https://www.hearingtracker.com/ask/is-eargo-a-hearing-aid-or-psap

Eleftheria Georganti
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Eleftheria's world revolves around sound - whether it's designing high-quality audio applications, crunching numbers in audio signal processing (DSP), decoding room acoustics, listening to music or crafting the latest hearing aid technology and new features. She has a professional career spanning over 15 years and a strong research record (over 40 articles and patents) and has been the driving force behind top-notch products at leading hearing aid and audio tech companies. But what really makes her enthusiastic is sharing what she knows. As an avid writer, she loves spreading the word on the science of hearing, hearing aids and health technologies. Her ultimate goal? To give people with hearing impairments the insights they need to live their best life.

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