Much different than hearing aids, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are used by patients to help with nothing more than mild hearing loss.

They are sold without a prescription and cannot be customized to the patient’s specific needs or hearing requirements.

They fit in your ear in the same fashion as a hearing aid would, but that is where the similarities end.

They’re the “reader glasses” of hearing aids.

There is a time and a place for testing the waters on something new, but hearing aids are prescriptive devices that have many aspects that cannot be replicated without your favorite audiologist.

Differences Between PSAPs and Hearing Aids

Customization — A PSAP is made for everyone. You have a unique hearing loss, unique ear canals, unique job listening requirements, etc. People and their hearing are not a one-size-fits-all situation.

Where to Get Them — Hearing aids come from professional audiologists after a thorough examination of your unique situation. PSAPs can be bought over the counter by anyone at any time and must be fitted and calibrated by the patient themselves.

Cost — While PSAPs, in some cases, are more inexpensive, healthcare is an investment. Investments come in small packages to larger packages, but no two are alike. Each person needs to assess their needs and the long-term results they desire.

Who uses PSAPs?

With hearing loss being such a common problem in Alaska, there are lots of remedies that people look for to ease their suffering.

Hearing loss can present itself very gradually and in that time frame, we see patients wait too long, all too often.

Seeking the help of a PSAP is a definitive sign that a person is experiencing a life-affecting hearing loss.

Unfortunately, this group of people has reached the point of seeking help but for one reason or another do not wish to get assistance from a professional.

In some rare cases, PSAPs are all the help they need to assist in amplifying sounds for those that experience a very mild case of hearing loss.

If you are curious before stepping into a pair of hearing aids, give them a listen. But know that they aren’t customizable, so if there is a less than desirable listening outcome, then it is definitely time to schedule a hearing assessment.  

What Are the Benefits of Hearing Aids?

The biggest benefit of hearing aids is the level of attention and detail you receive when getting fit for them.

We always ensure to get a lot of information about not just your physical hearing loss but also about your environment and daily routine.

Hearing aids are much more advanced than PSAPs, so we can adjust the settings to suit your specific surroundings.

Whether you work in loud environments or often listen to far-away noises, this is all information we take into account while getting your hearing aids calibrated.

Hearing aids can also reduce a lot of background noise as well, so pinpointing how you will be using them is our specialty.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of hearing loss and PSAPs haven’t been the solution, we invite you to contact us to discuss your situation.

We offer in-person, over the phone, and even tele-healthcare consultations.  We are here to help.

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Dr. Emily McMahan

Dr. McMahan attended the University of Cincinnati where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2009. She furthered her professional education by obtaining her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in Philadelphia in 2013. She completed her residency in Anchorage and has been applying her expertise to her patients in the Pacific Northwest for several years. Whether you need hearing testing, hearing aids, or assistance with managing tinnitus in your daily lives, Dr. McMahan is qualified to assist you!