You’ve most likely seen the commercials. The ones advertising PSAPs, or personal sound amplification products, guaranteeing an improvement to hearing for as little as 20 dollars. It appears to be a fantastic deal—particularly in comparison to the significant selling price of a hearing aid.
In reality, it’s not so much a great deal as it is clever marketing. The ads do their best to conceal some vital 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 costly PSAPs are readily available? Here are five good 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 cannot be utilized to treat any medical ailment, including hearing loss. PSAPs are simply recreational products meant to produce advantages to people who can already hear normally.
Making use of a PSAP to address 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, store, manipulate, and regulate any type of sound. Hearing aids can also create adjustments for pitch and volume so that amplification matches the patient’s hearing loss precisely.
A PSAP, in comparison, is a one-size-fits-all electronic device that amplifies soft sounds. Since every person’s hearing loss is a little different, PSAPs won’t amplify the correct frequencies. Instead, PSAPs will amplify all sound, causing distortion in noisy locations.
3. PSAPs can’t enhance speech recognition
Speech sounds are unique in that they are largely represented in the higher frequencies, particularly in comparison to background noises. Given that digital hearing aids can detect variations in sound frequency, hearing aids can amplify speech while repressing background noise. PSAPs, generally speaking, lack this function.
4. PSAPs could cost you more in the long-run
First of all, hearing loss is sometimes brought about by factors that do not require hearing amplification whatsoever. If, for example, earwax buildup is generating your hearing loss, a simple professional cleaning can improve your hearing within minutes—and without a cent spent on any amplification devices.
Second, sometimes more serious medical ailments can result in hearing loss, so you’ll want a professional examination to rule this out. Because you can purchase a PSAP without any interaction 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 function the way you would need it to. You’ll most likely invest in a hearing aid sooner or later anyway, so you might as well skip the extra cost of the PSAP.
And finally, 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 get back your money.
5. PSAPs lack the features of a hearing aid
PSAPs, like we said, are simple amplification devices stripped-down of any enhanced functionality. Hearing aids, on the other hand, can enhance speech, reduce background noise, and adapt to different surroundings. Several 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 healthy 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.