A new generation of products that utilize the latest wireless technology are offering promising alternatives for some people with hearing loss.
The devices which are classified as a personal sound amplifier product, or P.S.A.P., are designed to amplify sounds in a recreational environment.
Unlike hearing aids, P.S.A.P.’s are exempt from Food and Drug Administration oversight and can be sold as electronic devices directly to consumers, with no need to see a physician before buying one. They come with a range of features and vary widely in price.
And while some hearing professionals have long cautioned against the devices, citing their unreliability and poor quality, many also say that a new generation of P.S.A.P.s that utilize the latest wireless technology are offering promising alternatives for some people with hearing loss.
There are limitations to who can benefit. “A personal sound amplifier is really designed for patients who have normal or near normal hearing. It’s not really designed as a hearing device to address significant sensorineural hearing loss,” said Bettie Borton, the president of the American Academy of Audiology. It is also important that those with hearing loss be screened for potentially serious medical problems that may be causing the problem.