You’ve most likely seen the commercials. The ones promoting PSAPs, or personal sound amplification products, promising a boost to hearing for as little as 20 dollars. It appears to be a excellent deal—particularly in comparison to the significant selling price of a hearing aid.
The truth is, it’s not so much a great deal as it is shrewd marketing. The ads do their best to obscure some vital information while emphasizing carefully selected talking points.
But the question remains: why would you choose to shell out more money on a hearing aid when less expensive PSAPs are readily available? Here are five reasons.
1. PSAPs are not medical devices regulated by the FDA
Listen carefully to the PSAP advertisements. 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 used to treat any medical condition, including hearing loss. PSAPs are merely recreational products intended to produce benefits to people who can already hear normally.
Making use of a PSAP to manage hearing loss is like wearing 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 proficiently treat hearing loss.
2. PSAPs are not customizable
Hearing aids may not look very impressive on the outside, but inside they include state-of-the-art digital technology that can slice up, save, adjust, and control any type of sound. Hearing aids can also create adjustments for pitch and volume so that amplification complements the patient’s hearing loss exactly.
A PSAP, in contrast, is a one-size-fits-all electronic gadget that amplifies soft sounds. Since everyone’s hearing loss is a little different, PSAPs won’t amplify the correct frequencies. Rather, PSAPs will amplify all sound, producing distortion in noisy settings.
3. PSAPs can’t enhance speech
Speech sounds are special in that they are predominantly represented in the higher frequencies, particularly in comparison to background noises. Because digital hearing aids can identify variations in sound frequency, hearing aids can amplify speech while curbing background noise. PSAPs, for the most part, are lacking this capability.
4. PSAPs could cost you more in the long-run
Firstly, hearing loss is occasionally brought about by factors that do not require hearing amplification whatsoever. If, for instance, earwax accumulation is triggering your hearing loss, a straightforward professional cleaning can restore your hearing within a few minutes—and without a dime spent on any amplification devices.
Second, sometimes more serious medical conditions can cause hearing loss, so you’ll want a professional assessment to rule this out. Because you can buy a PSAP without any communication with any healthcare specialists, you could be putting yourself in danger.
Third, if you do have noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, a PSAP will not work the way you want it to. You’ll most likely invest in a hearing aid at some point anyway, so you might as well skip the additional expense of the PSAP.
And last, unlike 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 recoup your money.
5. PSAPs lack the functionality of a hearing aid
PSAPs, like we stated, are simple amplification gadgets stripped of any advanced functionality. Hearing aids, on the other hand, can enhance speech, minimize background noise, and accommodate to different environments. Several hearing aid models can even stream phone calls and music wirelessly, and some can be regulated with smartphones and watches.
The choice is yours
PSAPs do have their uses. If you have normal hearing, PSAPs are perfect 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.