You’ve most likely watched the commercials. The ones advertising PSAPs, or personal sound amplification products, guaranteeing a boost to hearing for as little as 20 dollars. It appears to be a fantastic bargain—especially when compared 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 crucial information while concentrating on carefully selected talking points.
However, the question remains: why would you want to spend more money on a hearing aid when less costly PSAPs are readily available? Here are five reasons.
1. PSAPs are not FDA-regulated medical devices
Listen carefully to the PSAP advertisements. You’ll hear all about “boosts” to hearing but never about actually 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 simply leisure devices meant to produce advantages to those who can already hear normally.
Using 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 properly treat hearing loss.
2. PSAPs are not customizable
Hearing aids may not look like much on the surface, but inside they include advanced digital technology that can slice up, save, adjust, and control any kind of sound. Hearing aids can in addition create adjustments for pitch and volume so that amplification complements the patient’s hearing loss precisely.
A PSAP, in contrast, is a one-size-fits-all electronic gadget 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, generating distortion in noisy spaces.
3. PSAPs can’t enhance speech
Speech sounds are distinctive in that they are largely represented in the higher frequencies, particularly in comparison to background noises. Seeing that digital hearing aids can detect variations in sound frequency, hearing aids can amplify speech while suppressing background noise. PSAPs, for the most part, are lacking this capability.
4. PSAPs might cost you more in the end
First of all, hearing loss is occasionally brought on by factors that do not require hearing amplification whatsoever. If, for example, earwax buildup is causing your hearing loss, a simple professional cleaning can restore your hearing within a matter of minutes—and without a cent spent on any amplification products.
Second, sometimes more significant medical ailments can cause hearing loss, so you’ll want a professional examination to rule this out. Considering that you can buy a PSAP without any communication with any healthcare professionals, you could be placing yourself in real 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 purchase a hearing aid sooner or later anyway, so you might as well skip the extra expense of the PSAP.
And finally, in contrast to hearing aids, there is no mandatory trial period for PSAPs. If you purchase 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 features of a hearing aid
PSAPs, like we noted, are simple amplification devices stripped of any sophisticated functionality. Hearing aids, on the other hand, can enhance speech, reduce background noise, and accommodate to different surroundings. Some hearing aid models can even wirelessly stream phone calls and music, and some can be regulated with smartphones and watches.
The choice is yours
PSAPs do have their uses. If you have healthy 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.