Hearing loss is one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S. It is the third most commonly reported physical condition, following arthritis and heart disease. While it affects roughly 48 million Americans, only about 20 percent of these individuals actually wear their hearing aids. This can be attributed to the high price tag of these devices.
Hearing aids and the way we buy them have been constantly evolving since their invention in the 17th century. With the cost of a traditional hearing aid reaching an all-time high, consumers have been looking for more affordable alternatives.
Personal Sound Amplification Products
Personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, typically retail for thousands less than a traditional hearing aid and can be purchased by the consumer without going through a licensed hearing aid provider.
These products are designed to amplify environmental sounds, meaning they can help individuals hear better in a noisy restaurant but are not recommended for anyone with diagnosed hearing loss that could benefit from the use of a hearing aid. PSAPs may be used for hunting, bird watching, listening to lectures, etc. They are not subject to medical device regulations because they do not meet the regulatory definition for medical devices.
Is There a Downside to PSAPS?
While this may seem troubling, as serious conditions could go undiagnosed, these devices are not advertised as a substitute for a professionally fitted hearing aid. Many individuals with untreated hearing loss avoid seeking help because of the cost and time commitment of seeing a professional; these devices may help solve this problem.
Experts agree that letting non-hearing impaired individuals purchase on their own device may help convince them to schedule an appointment with a professional when they really need it later on. Once they see the difference an off-the-shelf model can do for their quality of life, they will be less hesitant to visit an audiologist for a professional fitting.
Call Advanced Hearing Solutions at (858) 312-1327 for more information or to schedule an appointment.