PSAPs vs. Hearing Aids: Get the Facts to Hear Your Best

Do you have listening difficulties in certain situations? Do you need a little extra help hearing soft sounds such as whispers, footsteps, or a flowing river? Are personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) right for you?

With so many devices on the market and so much information online, the options for hearing help may seem overwhelming. At Bonnie Rubin Audiology, we’re here to help you cut through the confusion to find the solution that best meets your specific needs.

Get the scoop on PSAPs — including what they can and can’t do for you — right now.

What exactly are PSAPs?

Personal sound amplification products are defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as “wearable electronic products for use by non-hearing impaired individuals to amplify sounds in certain environments.”*

They’re used only for amplification — that is, making a sound louder — and, unlike hearing aids, are not considered by the FDA to be medical devices.

When might I use a PSAP?

PSAPs, also called sound amplifiers, can’t take the place of properly fitted hearing aids if you have a hearing loss.

They can be potentially helpful, however, if you have normal hearing but need environmental sounds emphasized or amplified in situations such as:

  • Watching television
  • Tracking animal sounds during a bird-watching or hunting trip
  • Listening to a speaker or performer who’s standing some distance away

What are the pros and cons of PSAPs?

Some benefits of PSAPs:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Can amplify soft sounds, which might otherwise be harder to hear
  • Made with recreational activities in mind, thus supporting active lifestyles
  • Designed to wear immediately after purchase, making them convenient
  • May serve as a short-term alternative while considering more comprehensive solutions

 
Some limitations of PSAPs:

  • Neither FDA-approved or recommended to treat actual hearing loss
  • Can amplify sound but cannot help your brain process sound
  • Often uncomfortable in the ear, and for many patients they’re difficult to manage/li>
  • Could cause hearing damage or aggravate existing damage with misuse or overuse
  • Bypasses the crucial step of professional testing, programming, fitting, and follow-up to rule out hearing problems and ensure the device is appropriate for your ears

 
Do you have questions about PSAPs, including whether they’re right for you or a loved one? Our caring team at Bonnie Rubin Audiology can answer your questions and work with you to find the best solution for your unique needs. Call us today for an appointment at 914.610.4445.
 

Contact us to learn more about PSAPs or read more on what the FDA says about PSAPs.


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