The Differences between Hearing Aids and PSAPs

[If you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may be concerned about the price tag of a new hearing aid. Certain types of hearing aids can be quite expensive, and some people may avoid seeking out getting fitted with one or even seeking treatment and look to other alternatives. One such alternative is called Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). They are low cost hearing devices ranging anywhere from $10 to $500 and can be purchased without a prescription. Despite the lower price tag and ease of accessibility, are these devices adequate replacements for hearing aids? Continue reading to find out. 

What are PSAPs?

PSAPs are instruments that amplify sound to a higher degree in certain environments. They are most commonly used in recreational activities such as hunting or bird watching to hear animals from far away, or used at sports matches. They are also used to increase sounds in conversations, watching movies, listening to music or other similar type settings that are difficult to hear due to distance. 

The usage of these devices may be good solutions for those who don’t want to carry around one expensive device or don’t mind switching from one type of PSAP to another depending on environment. Although they may be less costly than hearing aids, they cannot compete in regards to long-term hearing health benefits, convenience or features. 

PSAPs: A Short Term Solution?

Some people may think that PSAPs can help those with hearing loss as they amplify sounds, but treating auditory issues is much more than simply turning up the volume. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently stressed the shortcomings of PSAPs as an actual hearing aid alternative. They stated that PSAPs do not actually improve an individual’s hearing, but only amplify the sounds around the person. These devices weren’t designed for correcting hearing loss or intended as a proven method of improving hearing, but rather a device to just increase sounds around you. 

PSAPs vs. Hearing Aids

The function between PSAPs and hearing aids are vast. When someone is facing hearing loss, there are challenges with filtering out background noise, creating roadblocks in picking up specific sounds. PSAPs are unable to differentiate specific sounds from background noises, while hearing aids can do this, simulating the function of a normal auditory system. 

Another key difference lies within intrusiveness and convenience. Consumers with hearing loss often look for a device that is convenient and comfortable along with good performance. Certain PSAPs may come in different forms that require microphones that need to be held up to another person’s face in order to amplify sounds. Doing so is not only inconvenient, but also intrusive. With the advanced technology in hearing aids today, with their ability to wirelessly connect to smart technology, allow for a much more convenient, more effective and natural communication quality than PSAPs offer. 

Another key difference between PSAPs and hearing aid lies in the comfort. PSAPs are less costly because they are not customized to fit an individual’s ear. They are sold without a prescription and are mass produced. Although they may meet the needs of certain people who are looking to amplify certain sounds, they are not recommended as a full substitute for hearing aids. 

Why You Should Invest in Hearing Aids

The bottom line is that hearing aids are designed to treat hearing loss. PSAPs are designed to simply amplify sounds. Hearing aids assist in fixing the hearing problem that an individual is facing. They are more personalized and customizable and require a hearing health professional to fit and program the device, ensuring that it is correct to a patients’ specific auditory needs. 

Although the price tag of hearing aids may be much higher than that of PSAPs, the expense should not be the first factor individuals consider when it comes to selecting hearing aids. Cost is always an important factor in any design making process, but investing in cheaper PSAPs when what you really need is a hearing device to treat your hearing loss may be more costly in the long run.  

Reach Out to Audibel for your Hearing Aid Needs Today!

Are you or a loved one facing hearing loss? Are you uncertain about what type of treatment you may need moving forward? Our hearing health professionals at Audibel will be able to assist you throughout the process, from getting your hearing tested to figuring out what specific treatments may be best for you to getting the right hearing device fitted to improve your hearing health today. Contact us for more information.