Dealing with hearing loss or hearing difficulties can be an uncomfortable change to most peoples’ lives.
It can happen to anyone, in a variety of ways. Exposure to loud noise over long periods of time, certain medications or health conditions and even something as simple as aging can lead to gradual hearing loss.
Thankfully, as the world has become a noisier place to live, it’s also become more technologically advanced, leading to some great developments in hearing aid technology.
Nano Hearing Aids are a line of hearing aid devices provided by the company, Nano. They’re one of the most popular brands on the market and, with their prices falling below the industry standard, it’s easy to see why.
The reason they can charge such lower prices than their competition is because their products don’t require a prescription and can be bought over the counter.
Whilst this obviously has some benefits in terms of price, there are a few issues with this system that we’ll look at in more detail further down the page.
In this review, we’re going to be looking at all the different features and benefits of Nano Hearing Aids and discuss whether they’re worth getting or if you should look to other brands for a more complete hearing aid.
Are Nano products PSAPs or Hearing Aids?
The line of products from Nano that we’re looking at in this article are not actually hearing aids, they’re known as PSAPs.
PSAP stands for ‘personal sound amplification product’ and they have a few distinct differences to what a hearing aid does.
What are the differences between PSAPs and hearing aids?
Already, it seems a little deceiving that Nano can refer to their products as hearing aids, even when they’re not, but let’s take a look at what the main differences are before we pass judgement on whether they’re as useful as a real hearing aid.
As you may have guessed, there are some legal requirements manufacturers must adhere to when classifying their products. There are also different laws that govern the production of PSAPs and hearing aids.
Hearing aids in the US are regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and are medically prescribed devices that can only be sold to people who are deemed by a healthcare professional to suffer from hearing loss.
Alternatively, a PSAP can be sold, over the counter, to any individual who wants to use one. They will not compensate for actual hearing loss as well as a hearing aid and, instead, are designed to amplify all environmental sound for non-hearing imparied consumers.
Therefore, a much stricter set of regulations are in place to ensure hearing aids provide adequate compensation for those with hearing loss. This means that PSAPs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with lots of different features that might not be compatible for everyone’s needs.
Now, this doesn’t mean that PSAPs aren’t useful, it’s just that they aren’t designed for people who have clinically diagnosed hearing difficulties.
Style of Amplification
This is an area of difference that will be very noticeable to users of both hearing aids and PSAPs.
A hearing aid will use broadband technology, which allows the device to amplify more important sounds at close range and avoid picking up as much background noise from the environment.
On the other hand, PSAPs are designed to amplify all sound within a certain radius for the user.
Naturally, this makes hearing aids a much better device to support those with severe hearing difficulty or loss. However, for those who struggle to hear any noise in some situations, a PSAP can still be useful for picking up noise from a greater distance.
However, it should also be noted that PSAPs can actually have damaging effects on hearing when used improperly. For example, in crowded, noisy environments, a PSAP will amplify a lot of different sounds around the user, which could end up damaging their hearing further.
As we established, PSAPs are not regulated by the FDA, meaning they are mass produced and often come with a fixed set of features and are typically sold as ‘one size fits all’.
On the other hand, hearing aids are designed and specified for each individual’s level of hearing difficulty or loss.
Hearing aids prescribed by a healthcare professional will often have options to include more advanced features than PSAPs such as tinnitus control and directional microphones.
Also, a PSAP can be custom fitted to each individual’s ear, making it a better fit for each user.
Are PSAPs better than hearing aids?
Having gone over all the differences between PSAPs and hearing aids in the previous section, we can pretty easily determine that they are not better.
The stricter regulations that are in place for hearing aids ensure that each product will sufficiently amplify sound for those who suffer from diagnosed hearing difficulties. This means that hearing aids provide a more personal level of care for damaged hearing.
This doesn’t mean that PSAPs are useless, though. Because of the lack of regulation, they are much cheaper and easier to purchase over the counter in certain stores or online.
They are a good way to provide basic sound amplification for those who struggle with hearing in certain situations but do not suffer from a clinical level of hearing loss.
However, you should always check with a doctor or healthcare professional before choosing to go for a PSAP or a hearing aid. Even if you are hard of hearing, everyone’s body is different and these devices might end up making your hearing worse.
Nano Product Range
Now that we’ve established how Nano’s PSAPs are classified, let’s take a look at the product range they offer.
This section will go over the top 4 Nano hearing aid products and examine the key features of each.
This is probably Nano’s best all-round hearing device.
It features a battery with an impressive 14 day lifespan that needs to be replaced when it runs out. However, with your purchase, you’ll often receive a decent supply of batteries to get you started.
It’s also one of their only products that fits all the way inside the ear canal, providing a deeper sound amplification.
This product does not have any preset sound profiles for different types of audio environment. It also has very limited background noise reduction capabilities.
However, it is one of the cheapest products in the range Nano provides.
Similar to the CIC, the Sigma uses a replaceable battery, only has a lifespan of 6-14 days.
They fit behind the ear, rather than in the ear canal.
The best feature of this product is its bluetooth connectivity, meaning it can be controlled through a smartphone, via the Nano mobile app.
Also, the Sigma has noise reduction technology in place, to help block out some of the background noise in a loud environment.
Nano X2 Recharge
A rechargeable version of the existing Nano X2.0, this device is very easy to use.
It fits behind the ear and uses large buttons to make it easier to adjust settings.
It also provides four different settings for different audio environments, saving you the trouble of fiddling with the settings yourself to find the perfect balance.
As the name suggests, this product also comes with a rechargeable battery that has a lifespan of around 16 hours.
This is one of Nano’s best products for controlling volume settings
Similar to the X2 Rechargeable, this device also uses a rechargeable, 16 hour battery.
It has a lot of desirable features, including an audible alert when the battery is running low and feedback and frequency controls to help users eliminate unwanted background noise to their own liking.
They also fit behind the ear, with a smaller piece that goes inside the ear. The device is designed to be almost invisible and it blends almost seamlessly with the rest of the head.
Whilst this product does boast a lot of impressive features, depending on the retailer, it is one of Nano’s most expensive products.
Why should you not buy a Nano Hearing Aid?
Nano’s affordable product range is what makes them one of the most popular brands of hearing aid available in the market. However, they do also have a history of poor customer service and their products do not provide as adequate sound amplification qualities as a true hearing aid.
Reports have indicated that thousands of customer complaints have been made to Nano regarding quality of products or refunds.
The majority of reviews left on the company are positive, although some critics have claimed that Nano produces fake reviews to enhance their reputation dishonestly. There’s no evidence that these allegations are true, however it does represent the company’s reputation within the industry.
Also, as we established further up this page, Nano’s products are all PSAPs, which differ in certain ways from actual hearing aids.
Of course, it’s always best to consult healthcare professionals when deciding what type of hearing aid or PSAP to purchase, and actual FDA approved hearing aids can only be purchased with a prescription.
Hearing aids are often more expensive than Nano’s PSAPs but will provide a more personalized and more adequate overall device to assist with your hearing difficulties or loss.