New Starkey AMP Personal Audio Amplifier Is An Invisible Hearing Aid “For People Who Aren’t Ready For A Hearing Aid”

Starkey AMP Hearing Aid
Starkey AMP Invisible Hearing Aids Fit Deep Within The Ear Canal

Starkey Laboratories’ new AMP Personal Audio Amplifier is a tiny new invisible hearing aid designed “for people who aren’t ready for a hearing aid.”  The new hearing aid is an affordable, cosmetically appealing solution that does a good job correcting mild or moderate hearing loss. At a suggested retail price of $750 a piece, the Starkey AMP hearing aid is designed to make it simple for audiologists to send patients home with their first hearing aids after their first visit–without busting their budgets.

Like Starkey’s popular SoundLens invisible hearing aid, the tiny Starkey AMP hearing aid fits deep enough within the average ear canal to be virtually invisible. But unlike the SoundLens, which requires a custom fitting and is more expensive because it has more features for people with more complicated hearing loss, the Starkey AMP is an entry-level solution for people just starting to have trouble with their hearing. Its programming software comes with four preset starting points to make it easy for audiologists to tune the four-channel device to meet the individual requirements of patients with the most common form of mild, mainly high-frequency hearing loss. And a one-size-fits-most design–with an innovative “elastomeric sleeve” that can be adjusted to different sizes of ear canals and that also promotes airflow to prevent occlusion–enables audiologists to do without ear mold impressions and fit an off-the-shelf product that the patient can start wearing the same day.

As best I can tell from the specs available from Starkey, the AMP hearing aid addresses four major obstacles that often prevent patients who need hearing assistance from buying their first hearing aid:

  • Starkey AMP Hearing Aid
    Starkey AMP Eliminates Hearing Aid Stigma

    Stigma: Consumers still fear that wearing a hearing aid is a sign of infirmity and old age that will hurt them at work and in social situations; the AMP’s invisible deep-in-the-ear-canal design eliminates that cosmetic problem.

  • Sticker Shock: While not inexpensive, the AMP hearing aids are priced far more attractively than more expensive premium digital hearing aids, providing first-time users a more affordable way to start wearing hearing aids.
  • Sound Quality: Four channels provides enough digital programming flexibility to fit many users’ hearing profiles, and other features–especially feedback cancellation–promise to deliver a better listening experience than the cheaper personal sound amplifier products (PSAPs) that are increasingly available.
  • Comfort and Convenience: Starkey makes it clear that the new AMP hearing aids might not fit in everyone’s ear canals, but for those it does fit, the company has gone out of its way to make the small device comfortable to wear; additionally, being able to go home with a pair of programmed hearing aids after your very first visit to the audiologist reduces the hassle and time usually associated with fitting a pair of hearing aids.

One other feature increases the cool factor a bit. The programming software for the audiologists can run on both their personal computers and on their hip Apple Computer iPads.

After many years of “skimming the cream” in the market by providing high-profit premium-priced products costing up to $4,000 apiece to wealthy consumers, hearing aid companies now are starting to find ways to address first-time consumers with more modest budgets. The problem in delivering entry-level hearing aids until recently has been product quality: it was an expensive proposition to integrate good sound processing software processing with a powerful enough chip in a small enough size to design a cosmetically appealing hearing aid. Now, with more standardized technology platforms integrating lower-cost digital signal processors that deliver more power in smaller packages, it’s possible for the major hearing aid companies to start offering more and better entry-level solutions.

There may still be plenty of room in the market for even lower cost digital hearing aids offering high-quality sound in attractive packages, but the Starkey AMP’s combination of super-small size, good sound processing, attractive price and ease of fitting is a real step in the right direction.


  1. jpball says

    Unfortunately, this industry isn’t anything like healthcare. Having worked with the invention and deployment of DSPs and specific applications for analog to digital conversion, I can say that the costs for low power, very high-quality technology is in the tens of dollars and not the thousands of dollars claimed by these companies. Most audiologists are professionals interested in helping patients; however, the manufacturers are simply trying to capitalize on demand created by a compromised quality of life. Imagine charging someone $1000 for a pair of crutches to facilitate walking for a short period of time. This industry does just that. It’s shameful.

  2. Sctty says

    The FDA is joke calling out a difference between “sound amplifiers” and “hearing aids”. Their explanation of the difference is asinine at best.

  3. John Neumann says

    Is the AMP a sound amplifier or a true Hearing Aid which according to FDA is a device that corrects hearing loss. A sound amplifier merely turns up the volume and could cause damage to hearing. Like your kids having their headphones too loud.

  4. W. Don Wilkinson says

    I’m interested in the pair of aids said to retail for $1500.00

    Looking for word clarity and anti-crowd noise clarity to conversations!

    I have only used one aid in the past and find, of course, that is not sufficient.

    Most problem is with fast talking female voices of upper freq.s. and most all

    “soft” speaking folks.

  5. Aural says

    I’m in the market for an “invisible” aid. My options are Lyric (Analog device, worn 24/7, annual subscription fee of $3800, is replaced by Aud every 2-3 months). Starkey OtoLens, (Digital/Custom Ear Molds/Removable, $6000. Starkey AMP, (Digital/$1500). I’m lucky, I have large ear canals and mild hearing loss. I am currently doing a “free trial” of the Lyrics but I will be returning them. I find their audio quality to be inferior to a pair of Oticon’s that I lost a couple of years ago. Also I don’t like the fact that I can’t go swimming with the Lyric. I also don’t like having something in my ear 24/7. And then there’s the annual subscription. This is going to add up to a lot of money 10 years X $3800 = $38,000! The OtoLens is a very nice device but now with the AMP on the market for $1500, I think I know which one I’m going to choose.

  6. Bob Faulds says

    It’s real amazing that hearing aids cost so damn much but if they are sent in for repair sometimes they will just make a new one & charge $250.00. Hearing aid sales is a scam just as bad as insurance. I have to send mine in at least once a year after paying 5-6G for them in the first place. Don’t say that Starsky is better because that is what I’m using right now. I am on my third set & they are all junk. High priced junk at that.


  7. Judith Boudreau says

    I saw an ad on t.v. about a hearing aid for very cheap money. Did not get the phone # If this is the same, please send it to me. Thanks J. Boudreau

  8. Don Willson says

    I am trying to get my church looped. However, I see more and more ads for hearing aids that are too small for the telecoil. Without persons with telecoils, no venue or point of service will install loops and without loops no audiologist will include telecoils and instruct patients on their use. As far as I know no audiologist has a loop in their clinic.

  9. says

    Will these work for a person who already uses hearing aids that now need to be replaced and I don’t want to pay the $6,000 price? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks. Dan

  10. says

    Wow, what an interesting product. Trying to capture those consumers with a starter product that is easier to swallow for in form factor and in price. I wonder if the sound is of a “good enough” quality that customers will be satisfied.


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