Have you been diagnosed or believe you may have some degree of hearing loss? If so, you may be considering options for treating that hearing loss. Hearing health care providers often recommend hearing aids to match your specific needs, but it’s not uncommon for the initial sticker shock to send patients in search of less expensive options. Chances are one of those options is PSAP (Personal Sound Amplification Products).
“Hearing aids and personal sound amplification products (PSAPS) can both improve our ability to hear sound,” says Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of FDA’s Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, And Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices. “They are both wearable, and some of their technology and function is similar.” There’s more to consider though when it comes to your hearing health, and it’s important to know the difference between the two devices and why their prices differ. Before you decide, here’s what you should know about PSAPs and why hearing aids may still be your best investment.
What is a PSAP?
Personal Sound Amplification Products do just as their name implies, simply amplifying sounds. There is a range of products that fall into this category with a range of associated price tags. PSAPs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and according to the FDA website, “they are not intended to compensate for hearing impairment or to address listening situations that are typically associated with and indicative of hearing loss.” These devices cannot be programmed after purchase and are not meant to be an alternative to hearing aids.
Hearing professionals stress that because they amplify all sound across the board and are not monitored by a professional, they may mask an underlying condition that is causing the hearing loss, allowing it to become more serious or even make age-related hearing loss worse by delaying diagnosis and more personalized treatment.
Why Hearing Aids May Be Your Best Investment
Hearing aids, on the other hand, are designed specifically for those with hearing impairment. These discreet and powerful devices come in a variety of styles with many features to help users with hearing loss hear more clearly. While hearing aids do come with a higher price tag than Personal Sound Amplification Products, that price tag often includes more than just the device. Once a hearing evaluation is completed, individuals work with their hearing health care provider to find a hearing aid that works best for them. When the best device is selected, the hearing aid is fitted and adjusted for comfort and effectiveness. Ongoing adjustments and fittings and counseling on use and maintenance are usually included too. This professional guidance and ongoing support can make all the difference when it comes to successfully treating and managing hearing loss. It can also give new users peace of mind.
If you believe you have hearing loss and are considering your options, don’t wait. Work with a hearing professional to make the best choice for your needs. These trained professionals can provide a variety of options and plenty of guidance to select a device that will help you protect your hearing and join the conversation.