Hearing Aids

You have probably seen the advertisements. The ones promoting PSAPs, or personal sound amplification products, promising an improvement to hearing for as little as 20 dollars. It seems like a terrific deal—especially when compared to the hefty price tag of a hearing aid.

In reality, it’s not so much a good deal as it is shrewd advertising. The commercials do their best to obscure some crucial information while concentrating on carefully chosen talking points.

But the question remains: why would you want to spend more money on a hearing aid when less expensive PSAPs are readily available? Here are five good reasons.

1. PSAPs are not medical devices regulated by the FDA

Listen carefully to the PSAP commercials. You’ll hear all about “boosts” to hearing but never about treating hearing loss. The reason: PSAPs are not FDA-regulated medical devices and can not be utilized to treat any medical ailment, including hearing loss. PSAPs are merely leisure products meant to produce benefits to those who can already hear normally.

Using a PSAP to address hearing loss is like using a pair of reading glasses to treat near and far-sighted vision impairment. Hearing aids, on the other hand, are FDA-regulated medical devices that can effectively treat hearing loss.

2. PSAPs are not programmable

Hearing aids may not look very impressive on the surface, but inside they contain intricate digital technology that can slice up, store, adjust, and control any type of sound. Hearing aids can also make modifications for pitch and volume so that amplification complements the patient’s hearing loss exactly.

A PSAP, by comparison, is a one-size-fits-all electronic device that amplifies soft sounds. Since every person’s hearing loss is slightly different, PSAPs won’t amplify the correct frequencies. Rather, PSAPs will amplify all sound, creating distortion in noisy surroundings.

3. PSAPs can’t enhance speech

Speech sounds are distinctive in that they are mostly represented in the higher frequencies, especially in comparison to background sound. Considering that digital hearing aids can detect variations in sound frequency, hearing aids can amplify speech while restraining background noise. PSAPs, by and large, do not have this functionality.

4. PSAPs could cost you more in the end

To start with, hearing loss is on occasion brought on by factors that do not require hearing amplification whatsoever. If, for instance, earwax accumulation is triggering your hearing loss, an easy professional cleaning can improve your hearing within a matter of minutes—and without a dime spent on any amplification devices.

Second, sometimes more significant medical conditions can result in hearing loss, so you’ll want a professional assessment to rule this out. Considering that you can buy a PSAP without any communication with any healthcare specialists, you could be placing yourself in danger.

Third, if you do have noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, a PSAP will not function the way you want it to. You’ll probably purchase a hearing aid at some point anyway, so you might as well bypass the extra expense of the PSAP.

And last, in contrast to hearing aids, there is no mandatory trial period for PSAPs. If you buy one and it doesn’t get the job done, there’s no legal guarantee that you’ll get back your money.

5. PSAPs lack the functionality of a hearing aid

PSAPs, like we noted, are simple amplification devices stripped-down of any enhanced functionality. Hearing aids, on the other hand, can enhance speech, minimize background noise, and adjust to different surroundings. Some hearing aid models can even wirelessly stream phone calls and music, and some can be controlled with smartphones and watches.

The choice is yours

PSAPs do have their uses. If you have normal hearing, PSAPs are great for things like bird watching and eavesdropping on conversations, if that’s your sort of thing.

But for hearing loss, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Your hearing, and the relationships that count on it, are too valuable.

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