You are having trouble hearing and know you need help, but should you get hearing aids or amplifiers? Both make sounds louder and may seem to have the same function, but there are some distinct differences between the two.
Amplifiers, also known as personal sound amplifying products (PSAPs), are consumer electronic devices. PSAPs are designed to increase the loudness of all sounds equally and do have the capability of customizing the sound. They are intended for use by individuals with normal hearing in situations where you might want to "zoom in" on specific sounds, such as when bird watching.
While it might seem like an amplifier is a cheap and easy solution to hearing loss, you might do more damage than good. Since PSAPs are not regulated through the FDA as consumer electronic devices and not medical devices, there is a greater variability risk. There is no regulation for the safety or effectiveness of these devices which means you might be putting your hearing at risk. Hearing can be damaged if exposed to sound at or above 85 dBA for an extended period or with repeated exposure. To put that into perspective, here are the noise levels in common situations: 74 -104 dBA in a movie theater and 94 -110 dBA for music through headphones, concerts, or sporting events. Using amplifiers to help hearing loss puts you at risk for exposure to sound at potentially damaging levels over an extended period and repeatedly. This exposure could further damage your hearing, even in areas where your hearing is in the normal range.
Hearing aids are medical devices and are regulated as such by the FDA. Hearing aids are intended for use by individuals with hearing loss and are designed to compensate for impaired hearing. Hearing aids allow the audio signal to be shaped to meet the needs of the hearing loss. This means that the sounds you need amplified will be, and the sounds you don't need amplified won't. In addition, the output of hearing aids is limited to ensure that they will not cause more damage to your hearing. Other features found in hearing aids and not in PSAPS are noise reduction, wind noise cancellation, and the capability of multiple programs for different situations or environments.
If you have difficulty hearing, it is essential to check your hearing. You can start by taking our Zepp Clarity free online hearing assessment or by contacting Customer Support at 855-619-4327 to schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a consultation.