You've probably seen advertisements for very low-priced personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) online or in your local pharmacy. However, we want to stress that there are differences between sound amplifiers and hearing aids, and those differences are important to your hearing health.
The FDA provides a very clearly written explanation of how sound amplifiers and hearing aids differ:
In March 2009, FDA issued guidance describing how hearing aids and personal sound-amplifying devices differ. The recently issued guidance defines a hearing aid as a sound-amplifying device intended to compensate for impaired hearing. PSAPs are not intended to make up for impaired hearing. Instead, they are intended for non-hearing-impaired consumers to amplify sounds in the environment for a number of reasons, such as for recreational activities.
Why Shouldn’t I Use a Personal Sound Amplifier Product for Hearing Loss?
As stated by the FDA, while both hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers improve the ability to hear sound, personal sound amplification products are not intended for people with hearing impairment. They are intended for situations like bird watching or hunting, where you may want to enhance your hearing despite having normal hearing already. They are not designed to help hearing loss.
In short, they are produced for recreational use, not medical use, and while certain regulations regarding sound output levels apply to personal sound amplifier products, they are not regulated as medical devices by the FDA.
The main concern with PSAPs, according to the FDA website, is that those suffering from a hearing impairment will choose a personal sound amplifier due to the cheap price tag, and then they’ll delay seeing a doctor or using an actual hearing device. That delay could lead to further hearing damage.
Hearing aids have been shown to improve quality of life in those with hearing loss, which means that if you delay seeking real help for your hearing problems, you’ll also prolong your suffering and you may miss out on important life moments.
How Do I Know if I Need a Hearing Aid?
If you’re considering buying a hearing aid or personal sound amplifier product because you can’t hear well, now is a good time to get checked out by a doctor. Schedule a thorough medical evaluation and hearing test and get an official diagnosis for your hearing loss, if possible.
You may experience the following symptoms of hearing loss:
- You regularly ask others to repeat themselves
- You turn the TV up to volumes that make others uncomfortable or that are higher than you used to
- Others say you talk too loudly and ask you to speak more quietly
- You have trouble hearing high-frequency sounds, like the voices of children and birds singing
If you can’t see a doctor or audiologist about your hearing loss, there are affordable hearing aid options available that don’t require a doctor visit, prescription, or consultation.
At Advanced Affordable Hearing, we have been selling hearing aids for over 20 years. Our hearing aids are designed to help you hear clearly again at an affordable price.
Our hearing aids include benefits that a hearing amplifier won’t offer you, like noise reduction technology, which helps to reduce background noise. In addition, hearing aids sometimes include features like directional microphone technology, which targets your hearing on what's in front of you, making understanding conversations easier.
Sound amplifiers only amplify sound, which means they'll amplify everything in the surrounding area. That can cause confusion and make following conversations or hearing people in noisy areas, like in church, difficult - if not impossible.
Don't waste time and money on products that aren't even made to help your hearing issue. Instead, go ahead and make the leap. Hearing devices are available now for a variety of budgets, so there's no reason to delay the purchase of a product that could be life-changing.
How Do I Know the Difference When Buying?
Being a smart consumer is important when buying a hearing aid. If you're trying to spot a PSAP, they are often unusually cheap. When you see that $19 hearing device advertised elsewhere please keep in mind that the chances are that it is a PSAP, not a hearing aid.
Do your research on the hearing device and the company you are buying from. At Advanced Affordable Hearing, we will never sell you a PSAP. All our hearing devices are actual hearing aids, and we have thousands of customer reviews to back up their quality and performance.
We also give our customers a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee -- risk-free. That way, you have time to try the hearing aids out before you have to make the decision to return or keep them.
If you're on the hunt for the right hearing device, we highly recommend purchasing from a company that allows you a trial period or money-back guarantee. We want you to have the right device for your hearing loss and situation, so we're happy to provide that time for you to wear them and find out if they suit your hearing loss. Most reputable hearing aid companies provide a similar courtesy.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the device before purchasing. We welcome questions. If there is any information you feel you need on our hearing aids before you buy, don't hesitate to contact our Advanced Affordable Hearing team at 1 (800) 804-0434.
With just a few simple answers from you over the phone, we can help you choose an affordable hearing aid that is right for your hearing loss and lifestyle.