23 Apr Spring Cleaning! What is a Personal Sound Amplifier?
On today’s spring cleaning article, the hot topic of “personal sound amplifers” is addressed. The entire article is here, but the most important details are laid out below. Please note that the author, Tony Miliano, is an american doctor of audiology, and the article references the FDA. The basic details are still accurate for Canadian consumers, despite the involvement of the FDA in the United States.
Have you seen “personal sound amplifiers” advertised on television or featured in numerous “big box” stores? They’re appearing everywhere, with some making misleading claims as to whom—or what—they are best suited for.
While personal sound amplifiers are wearable like a hearing aid, they are in no way a substitute for the advanced technology of an appropriately fit hearing device. In fact, they are not for people with hearing difficulties at all, and can actually cause damage to your hearing if they aren’t used correctly.
What are personal sound amplifiers for?
According to an FDA study, personal sound amplifiers are intended for “nonhearing- impaired consumers to use during recreational activities, such as hunting or bird watching.” Using a personal sound amplifier in place of a professionally programmed and fit hearing aid can delay proper diagnosis of a treatable loss, and delaying an appropriate diagnosis can worsen hearing difficulties, which in turn can lead to other problems for a person already facing a hearing loss. Because personal sound amplifiers are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or diminish hearing loss, there is no definition for these products as determined by the FDA, nor does the FDA regulate them. These reasons alone should make a person cautious before using a personal sound amplifier, but they also stress the importance of always having your hearing health diagnosed and treated by an audiologist.
Why an experienced professional makes all the difference
The FDA recommends that if you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing a hearing difficulty, to have it evaluated immediately. The sooner a hearing difficulty is correctly diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated to bring healthier hearing back to your life.