Senior Health: For many older adults, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) provide a simple and cost-effective alternative to hearing aids.
Senior Health: What’s a Personal Sound Amplification Product?
PSAPs are devices that amplify sounds in certain situations. Hearing aids are regulated by the FDA to treat hearing loss, which can make them pretty expensive. PSAPs aren’t regulated, so they are much less expensive than hearing aids. They can also be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, so they are much less of a hassle to obtain for good senior health.
PSAPs contain small microphones and speakers. The microphones capture the sound waves, which are then amplified and rebroadcast through the speaker. They have controls to adjust the volume to the listener’s liking. Many of them look a lot like over-the-ear hearing aids.
You can find PSAPs online. When shopping for a quality product, look for the following features:
- A large number of 4-5 star user reviews, or the seal of approval from a reliable organization, such as Consumer Reports.
- A frequency range of 250-6000 Hz or more.
- Easy to use
- A good return policy in case it doesn’t work for your needs. Look for about 30 days or more.
Do PSAPs Work?
A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that PSAPs are effective for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. In fact, they were found to be as effective as high quality hearing aids in certain circumstances!
What’s the Difference Between Hearing Aids and PSAPs?
Hearing aids are specifically designed to compensate for hearing loss, while PSAPs just amplify sounds in certain situations.
Depending on the type of hearing loss you have, PSAPs may work fine for your needs, or hearing aids may be better.
It’s a good idea to see an audiologist to have your hearing properly tested to determine if you need a hearing aid or if a PSAP will work for your needs.
Hearing Loss Can Affect Quality of Life
Hearing loss can greatly affect older adults’ ability to participate in conversations, enjoy their favorite television program or engage meaningfully in their favorite activities. Hearing aids or PSAPs can make a profound difference in peoples’ lives. For many seniors, PSAPs can help without the hefty price tag or hassle of traditional hearing aids.
Elder Care Can Also Help With Hearing Loss
While hearing aids and PSAPs can help some seniors with hearing loss, in other cases they don’t offer enough support. For elders who have difficulty handling small items for reasons such as arthritis, poor vision or memory loss, these tiny devices may not be a good option.
Many seniors choose to hire an elder care aide to assist with daily challenges, such as hearing aid care. When an elder care aide comes in to help out, they can take care of many little challenges all at once: hearing aid care, challenges with dressing, light housework, pet care, or more.
Elder care is also a great source of companionship for seniors who may experience social isolation due to hearing loss. They can help make telephone calls, or assist with shopping, transportation, or errands that the hearing loss makes more difficult.
Elder care can support seniors to enjoy the best possible independence and quality of life, despite any senior health challenges like chronic medical conditions or hearing loss.