What Is A PSAP And Is It Better Than A Hearing Aid?

Consumers pay large sums of money for hearing aids. To combat this cost, people with hearing problems now have another option available to them. Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) are available over the counter and come with a significantly smaller price tag than hearing aids. However, before you drive to your local shopping mall and purchase a PSAP, let’s examine these devices closer.

What is a PSAP?

PSAPs are available for people who want to amplify sounds they hear. These sell for $20 to $350 which is a bargain considering hearing aids cost $6,000 and up and Medicare, along with private insurance companies, do not cover the costs of them.

Uses of a PSAP

Supporters of PSAPs believe that the devices can benefit individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss although those people who attend a professional fitting by a hearing healthcare professional experience better outcomes. Nevertheless, these devices do address many of the reasons people do not purchase hearing aids:

  • Hearing healthcare is not affordable
  • The majority of primary care physician visits do not include a hearing screening
  • For many people, health services are difficult to access
  • Medicare and the bulk of private health insurance companies will not cover the cost of hearing aids

Why are Hearing Aids More Beneficial?

PSAPs are not medical devices. These recreational devices are intended to boost volume for people with normal hearing. Your hearing healthcare may depend on a proper hearing evaluation by a professional, so it is essential to realize the differences between a hearing aid and a PSAP:

  • PSAPs are not medical devices regulated by the FDA. Please understand that these devices boost your hearing and offer no therapeutic benefit. Hearing aids are FDA regulated and can treat hearing loss.
  • PSAPs are not capable of enhancing speech recognition. Digital hearing aids are capable of detecting variation in sound frequency, so they strengthen speech while blocking background noise. PSAPs are not capable of this function.
  • Unlike PSAPs, hearing aids are programmable. Hearing aids can make adjustments to sound and pitch, so they fit your individual hearing needs. PSAPs are a one-size-fits-all device that amplifies sound.
  • Hearing aids have functionality that is lacking in PSAPS. Modern technology enables hearing aids to enhance speech, reduce background noise, and adjust to different environments. Some models can even wirelessly stream a phone call and music.
  • A fitting by a qualified professional is proven to deliver better hearing healthcare outcomes. These hearing aid specialists are experts at finding, identifying, treating, and monitoring hearing problems. When you purchase a PSAP, you do not have the expertise of a professional.

An Important Decision

A PSAP is an ideal piece of technology for anyone with normal hearing who desires to amplify sounds. If you are in the market to merely boost the sounds of nature, music, or television, then a low-cost PSAP is for you. However, it is essential to have your hearing checked by a qualified hearing healthcare professional to diagnose your hearing problem accurately and prescribe the appropriate treatment.


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Fullerton Hearing Center is privately owned and operated by Monica Fernandez. Along with the rest of the team, the office possesses a strong working relationship and passion for hearing care.

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