Differentiating Hearing Aids from Sound Amplifiers

Posted by:gulf onJuly 25, 2017

Sound amplifiers can help individuals hear sounds that are far away from the listener or at low volume better. However, people sometimes mistake them as substitute for hearing aids because they are relatively cheaper and are readily available in the market. Plus, they do the task well if a person’s purpose is to watch TV quietly or get alerts when a baby makes sounds from the other room. This misconception might eventually lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss if not properly corrected.

In March 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance to differentiate hearing aids and personal sound-amplifying products (PSAPs):

  • Hearing aids are intended to compensate for impaired hearing and should encompass both air conduction and bone conduction devices in various styles, including behind-the-ear, in-the-canal, and body worn.

Transcutaneous air conduction hearing aid systems help compensate for impaired hearing without occluding the ear canal. The government implements certain regulatory requirements on hearing aids.

  • PSAPs are meant to amplify environmental sound for non-hearing-impaired consumers. They do not address the elements of hearing loss such as distortion. They are not considered devices as defined in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as well.

Despite having no regulatory classification and requirements for registration, PSAPs are subject to relevant provisions of the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968. The law allows FDA to regulate electronic products that produce sound vibrations.

If you think you are having a hard time hearing sounds that are supposed to produce normal sounds, getting in touch with a certified hearing professional is the ideal way to address the situation. Do not rely solely on your discretion when it comes to the health of your ears. A professional hearing test will help in determining whether your hearing loss is simply age-related or caused by a medical cause.

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

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