It’s no secret that as we get older our hearing starts to fade, leaving many of us asking our friends and family to repeat themselves or turn the volume on the telly up a little louder.

While hearing aids are a useful solution for those with more severe hearing loss, they aren’t the only option for people living with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Enter the XTM Personal Amplifier.  At just $349, the tiny device sits inside the ear like many of today’s advanced hearing aids.

It boosts the sounds around you so it makes it easier to hear conversations and surrounding noise. The XTM has four different settings, which you can change to suit where you are and what you’re doing.

We asked Starts at 60 readers to test the device for 10 days. Here’s what they found.

Alan Skelton, Queensland

Setting the XTM up with a battery and an ear piece was straight-forward and it fitted fairly snuggly in my left ear. Removing it was not difficult and the removal cord helped. My wife confirmed that it was not obvious that I was wearing it unless she looked closely. I found it easy to change the volume between the four settings by touching the button. I did not have to remove it to change the settings.

My first use was around the home, carrying out normal daily activities like pool maintenance, feeding the wild birds, gardening, reading, having meals, and listening to the radio in the background.

I found that all sounds were louder, but closer sounds in particular were amplified. I could hear myself breathing and chewing, I could hear the crackle of pages of a book being turned, I could hear my shoes on the tiles. I could also hear a crackling echo in the background.

In summary, I recommend the XTM Personal Amplifier as providing a definite hearing improvement with very little downside.

John Reid, Tasmania

After two weeks trialling the XTM, I have only now replaced the second battery, so battery life appears to be what the manufacturer suggests.

Other than the strangeness of having something foreign in the ear – that lasted only an hour or two – I find it quite comfortable. Once installed, it is invisible other than for anyone looking directly into the ear, a matter that is no issue to me but I imagine it might be for some.

Maintenance is straightforward. Battery replacement is easy, and the click-sleeve installation and replacement a snap, literally.

Steve Robinson, Queensland

Since wearing the XTM, I have discovered sounds happening all around me that I previously was unaware of. I now hear that paper crinkles when picked up, that cloth brushing against other surfaces makes a noise, and that normal-hearing people can hear clearly what is happening in other rooms of the house.

I receive most benefit from the XTM in a quiet environment, usually at home. I have also discovered that our family clock ticks quite loudly and that the dishwasher makes noise all through its cycle – I’m still getting used to that.

Overall, the XTM is of great benefit, not just to me, but my wife as well. The television is set at a lower volume, which makes it more comfortable for her and means it is easier for both of us to enjoy what’s on and be heard more easily when we speak to each other.

An advantage of purchasing the XTM Personal Amplifier is that improved hearing is instant – no extra hearing tests, no waiting for ear impressions to be taken and no waiting for the device to be fitted.

Simple, straightforward instructions mean no visit to a hearing specialist is necessary for suitable users.

Fran Spears, Tasmania

After receiving the XTM Personal Amplifier, I excitedly put the battery into the new device and inserted it comfortably into my ear. Now to test it out.

I had to go to Pulmonary Rehab classes. It’s like a gym and a little noisy, what with all of us talking and the odd exercise machine. I could hear everything fine. I called in to the local shopping centre on the way home and managed to shop without having to ask someone to repeat what they said. Today, I went out for coffee with a friend, and to the GP. Both my friend and my GP could be heard at all times. I was impressed.

So here’s what I found while trialling the XTM. The tiny little device given to me from Australian Hearing is great. It works beautifully for someone with minimal hearing loss like myself and it magnifies sounds more than enough for me to hear everything I need to hear.

Do you ever have difficulty hearing? Would you try a device like this?

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