Many of our patients have been asking us about our thoughts on a recent Wall Street Journal article that discussed Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) sold over-the-counter or online. We wanted to take a moment to share our opinions (and those of other medical professionals) to our blog readers. While the article brought up great points about hearing loss and hearing care, the lines were not clearly defined between PSAPs and hearing instruments, which are two entirely different products. As defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing aids are products intended to correct hearing loss, while PSAPs are marketed to amplify sound for people who have not experienced hearing loss. Using PSAPs to amplify hearing can have many dangerous effects including potential for further loss with sounds amplified too high.
In a dispute letter written by the president of the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) medical complications were further discussed explaining that hearing loss can actually be an indicator of a more serious health condition. It is with these possible complications that we as an audiology practice see the need for every person with a loss to obtain a comprehensive examination to rule out these factors that can range from excessive ear wax causing hearing loss, to potential tumors. The letter by the HIA also discussed the individualization of each persons hearing loss and need for different features and adjustments for each persons needs.
If you have questions regarding the differences in hearing instruments and PSAPs please feel free to contact us. Our doctors would be more than happy to discuss the importance of hearing devices for your hearing needs.