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The Difference between Hearing Aids and PSAPS


If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, then you may have seen adverts for devices known as personal sound amplification products or PSAPs. These devices are often described as an alternative to hearing aids – but is this actually the case? In this piece, we’ll try to answer this question, and highlight the significant differences between conventional hearing aids and PSAPs so that you can make the right choice for your hearing health needs.

What are PSAPs?

PSAPs somewhat resemble conventional hearing aids. The purpose of the device is to amplify sound, which is said to be beneficial to those who are experiencing hearing loss.

However, it is crucial to note that PSAPs are not considered to be medical devices; they are considered to be wearable electronic products. In contrast, hearing aids are considered to be medical devices that are capable of effectively treating hearing loss.

Why do people consider PSAPs?

PSAPs can be used by people who want to increase their hearing for specific recreational purposes, but they are most commonly discussed as an alternative to hearing aids. In this regard, their main attraction is their price point and how easily they can be purchased; you do not need to be diagnosed with hearing loss to use PSAPs.

The difference between hearing aids and PSAPs

While the two types of devices may seem to be fairly similar to one another, they really could not be any more different when it comes to functionality.

PSAPs are designed to simply increase the volume of all noise, which means that any sound – including irrelevant sounds such as traffic noise, the sound of a busy restaurant, or the whir of an air conditioning unit – are elevated. When all sounds are increased, actually distinguishing important sounds such as speech is extremely challenging, if not outright impossible.

In contrast, hearing aids are medical devices that offer the user far more than simple sound amplification. Most hearing aids include features, such as background noise reduction or directional microphones, that are designed to allow the wearer to focus on the most important sounds that they will encounter. Furthermore, a huge amount of emphasis is placed on the quality of the amplification; the technology used to achieve this is more advanced than is commonly found in PSAPs.

In addition, it is worth considering the fact that some experts believe that, in addition to not being able to treat hearing loss, PSAPs can potentially be dangerous. These concerns are based on the fact that PSAPs can potentially raise the volume of sound to a point that it is harmful to hear, which will worsen rather than improve hearing loss. Hearing aids do not pose this potential risk, as the device is custom-designed for the user in order to treat a medical condition.

The importance of professional assistance

PSAPs are very accessible products; they can be bought online or in some stores without the need to consult with a medical professional. In some ways, this accessibility sounds ideal – but it actually reveals an underlying problem with PSAPs: there is no need for professional assistance to use them.

The lack of a need for professional insight is worrisome, given that hearing loss is a medical condition that can be caused by several different issues. If you are experiencing hearing loss and do not visit an expert on the subject, instead choosing to buy a PSAP to “treat” the condition yourself, then you will miss the professional insight and expertise that is required to treat hearing loss successfully. More worryingly still, using a PSAP can mean that hearing loss is not “treated”; the issue is instead just masked. If hearing loss is not treated, then it can worsen over time.

Finally, buying a PSAP to “treat” hearing loss can be done without a hearing test – and regular hearing tests are crucial to providing successful treatment. As well as diagnosing hearing loss, hearing tests conducted by a hearing instrument specialist can also provide guidance for which hearing aids may be suitable, and future hearing tests can assess any further changes to hearing and make changes accordingly. Without these, successfully managing hearing health is highly unlikely.

PSAPs may seem like a sensible idea, but when it comes to using one of these devices, they tend to disappoint. Realistically, there is no substitute for hearing aids. As a result, if you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss, arrange an appointment with a hearing instrument specialist to discuss which hearing aids may be suitable for you.

If you would like to discover more about Sahali Professional Hearing Services, please call one of the following numbers: Sahali Professional Hearing Services, V2C 5R9: 250-374-5767, Fortune Centre Hearing Clinic, V2B, 2L2: 250-554-3706, Merritt Hearing Clinic, V1K 1B8: 250-315-9688