There’s a lot of misinformation with regards to the difference between these two categories of devices, and that confusion is elevated by how many advertisements that you see for inexpensive personal sound amplifiers (PSAs), compared with how relatively few you see for hearing aids. One reason you don’t see as many advertisements for hearing aids is because they are medical devices, monitored by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and therefore not available for sale without a prescription from a properly licensed doctor, hearing instrument specialist or hearing instrument specialist. Hearing aids are intended to help individuals with genuine clinical hearing difficulties; they amplify sounds, but hearing aids also have additional settings and filters that allow them to be programmed to satisfy each user’s hearing requirements.

Conversely, PSAs were developed for people with normal hearing. A PSA increases the volume level of sounds. Personal sound amplifiers are occasionally created to look like hearing aids, but they are not. The only purpose for a PSA is to make sounds louder. Personal sound amplifiers cannot adjust to individual requirements, selectively boost selected frequencies or suppress background noise the way that hearing aids do.

At under $100, PSAs are appealing to people on a small budget, considering the fact that the top hearing aids run over a thousand . The massive variation in cost is a primary reason the FDA has gotten involved developing information campaigns and websites to make sure that consumers understand the difference. If you’re having difficulty hearing, do not purchase a PSA without having your hearing checked by a professional hearing instrument specialist or hearing instrument specialist. If you have real hearing losses, using a PSA can postpone treatment which could improve your hearing, and in some situations may even damage your hearing even more (for example, by allowing you to turn the volume level up too high).

Before buying any device to improve your hearing ability, see a hearing instrument specialist or hearing instrument specialist. That is the Food & Drug Administration advice to ensure that you get the appropriate care. Some hearing problems, such as simple blockage of the ear canals from ear wax, can be solved and your hearing recovered in one doctor’s visit. Hearing loss due to permanent inner ear damage can be improved with carefully prescribed and adjusted hearing aids. A hearing specialist will be able to figure out the underlying cause of your difficulty hearing. In certain scenarios you won’t need a hearing aid or a personal sound amplifier.

After a hearing exam, if your hearing is determined to be normal, you may choose a personal sound amplifier if you still have trouble with particular sounds. When shopping for one, read the PSA’s technical specs, and only consider those that satisfactorily amplify sounds in the range of human conversation (between 1000 to 2000 Hz). Look for a model with volume level controls that don’t allow it to exceed 135 decibels. That’s already really loud! There’s a role for personal sound amplifiers in the market when used by the right individuals. They can be very helpful for individuals with normal hearing to hear distant or weak sounds much better. It should just not be confused with more precise and more sophisticated hearing aids, or be perceived as a substitute for them by individuals who have experienced genuine hearing loss.