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Benefits of Personal Sound Amplification Products: What Do Scientific Studies Say About PSAP Hearing Devices?

By jwilder

Benefits of Personal Sound Amplification Products

Experiencing a loss of hearing can be very frustrating and limiting. Fortunately, there are many products available without a prescription that aim to improve your hearing and help you live a more normal life.

But are these Personal Sound Amplification Products (also called “PSAP hearing devices”) actually worth the money? This plain English guide explains the scientific data on these devices, so you know the benefits of Personal Sound Amplification Products.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The different types of Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs)
  • The health benefits of PSAPs
  • And get some helpful tips about getting the best PSAP for your needs!

Types of Personal Sound Amplification Products

Hearing Amplifiers

These devices work in a similar fashion to hearing aids, but are much cheaper and designed to help people communicate and interact with the world around them more clearly. Most hearing amplifiers resemble headphones or earbuds, and many are discreet enough that others will barely notice them in your ear.

Hearing amplifiers are also inexpensive: top-of-the-line models cost about $200, while budget models will cost far less. If you’re having trouble hearing people talk, especially in noisy environments, a hearing amplifier can help you carry on as normal.

Pocket Talkers

Williams Sound PockeTalker Ultra Duo Sound Amplifier with Headphone & Earbud, Year Supply of Batteries & Liberty Microfiber Cloth

The Williams PockeTalker and other similar devices closely resemble Walkmans or other portable cassette players. Instead of playing cassettes, however, these devices amplify the sounds around you, making it easier to hear things around you.

Pocket talkers often include a detachable microphone that you can place closer to the person or thing you are trying to listen to. These devices are very helpful for large group meetings, noisy spaces, or talking to people with very soft voices, like your grandchildren.

TV Hearing Devices

ChairSpeaker Voice Enhancing TV Speaker System Lets You Hear Clearly Without Blasting Annoying Loud Sound, Still Hear Others, Phone, Door Bell, Alarms, Best Wireless TV Speakers for Hearing Impaired

Watching TV with the volume turned all the way up is one option, as is having the closed captioning turned on. However, watching TV at max volume can be distracting to other people in your house or your neighbors if you live in an apartment/assisted living facility. TV hearing devices bring the sound closer to you, acting as speakers that sit near your ears instead of across the room.

TV hearing devices such as the Chair Speaker plug into your tv and are fixated on your couch/recliner, putting the sound much closer to your ears. If you have trouble hearing the news, sports, or your favorite shows and don’t want to disturb others, a TV hearing device is ideal for you.

Sound Amplifier Headphones/Headsets/Earbuds

These devices are exactly like other headphones, but they’re designed to be a bit louder, helping you hear music, TV, and radio more clearly. Many products in this category are wireless, meaning you can move about the room without getting a long wire stuck on something. If you have trouble hearing your laptop speakers, TV, or radio, getting a pair of headphones/earbuds designed for the hearing impaired is a great idea for you!

Sound Systems/Soundbars/Speakers for the Hearing Impaired

Sound systems aren’t just a good method of upgrading your home entertainment center. They can also help people with hearing loss better hear their TVs and even act as house-wide doorbells.

Getting a soundbar for your TV is simple enough: they’re louder, clearer, and typically affordable. If you’re more technically inclined, you can get a series of speakers that are interconnected, such as Amazon’s lineup of Echo devices. You can place them throughout your house, and they all work together to help you clearly hear the TV, listen to the radio, and more. If you have a video doorbell, you can even connect it to your speakers and have the doorbell ring in every room of the house so that you’ll never miss it.

Phones for the Hearing Impaired

Trying to have a phone conversation with a hearing impairment is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. If you’re tired of asking people to repeat themselves or replaying voicemails over and over, getting a new phone isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessary one.

Benefits of Personal Sound Amplification Products - Evidence From Scientific Studies

Hearing Loss Prevalence

More than 30 million people in the United States alone live with some form of hearing loss. Whether the effects are partial or total, or affect just one ear or the other, hearing loss is very prevalent. There are many factors that contribute to hearing loss, but age is the biggest. Older adults are more likely to experience hearing loss than any other age group.

Negative Effects of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate with others, respond to unexpected events (for example, an approaching car when crossing the street is much more dangerous if you can’t hear it) and enjoy entertainment/media. Hearing loss, in some cases, can also have negative effects on your balance and motor skills.

Benefits of Personal Sound Amplification Products

Hearing loss makes it difficult to communicate with others, respond to unexpected events (for example, an approaching car when crossing the street is much more dangerous if you can’t hear it) and enjoy entertainment/media. Hearing loss, in some cases, can also have negative effects on your balance and motor skills.

  • Easier Hearing: Obviously, the biggest advantage to getting a personal sound amplifier is that it makes it easier to hear people and things around you. For most people, that is enough of a benefit on its own, because not being able to hear affects all aspects of life. Even waking up to your alarm clock is much more difficult when you cannot hear it.
  • Affordable: PSAPs usually cost much less than hearing aids. Despite the large price difference, PSAPs can be just as effective as hearing aids.
  • No Prescription: Hearing aids are pretty difficult to obtain, often requiring multiple doctor’s visits and a written prescription. PSAPs don’t require a prescription, and they are easy to get from a variety of websites and stores, most notably Amazon.
  • Better Communication: Talking on the phone, speaking with cashiers and restaurant servers, and other daily tasks are much more difficult when you can hardly understand what is being said. PSAPs like pocket talkers and hearing amplifiers drastically improve these types of communications. These devices perform with similar effectiveness to hearing aids in these situations, even if they have up to 95% hearing loss, according to a study from Towson University. Other studies have confirmed that people with mild to moderate hearing loss can communicate much more effectively when using a PSAP.
  • Safety: Using a PSAP is a good way to stay safe and alert to potential dangers. For example, having a smoke detector that you cannot hear does you no good in the event of a fire or CO2 leak. In addition to upgrading your smoke detector, using a sound amplifier will help keep you alert and aware of what is going on. The last thing you want is for a dangerous situation to arise and you be unaware of it until it is too late.

Tips for Finding the Best Personal Sound Amplification Product for Your Needs

Type of Device

There are a few different types of PSAPs, and no two categories overlap much in terms of purpose. What we mean is this: a TV hearing device is fantastic for watching the news but pretty useless when trying to do business over the phone, and vice versa. Before you settle on a device, make sure you know exactly what it does and does not do.

Consider Your Needs

This is the flip-side of our first tip: not only do you need to understand what each different PSAP does, but you also need to know what you need a PSAP device to do. Getting a pocket talker will help you with in-person conversations, but not on the phone. On the other hand, a set of sound amplifier earbuds will work well both on the phone and in real life.

So, you should consider how you will need to use your PSAP before buying one that doesn’t turn out to work for all your needs. Some seniors may also need to purchase multiple devices so that they can cover all their bases.

How Much Does a Personal Sound Amplification Product Cost?

PSAPs are available across a wide range of prices. Some research has indicated that the most expensive PSAPs may perform better than cheap models, but there are still many inexpensive models that perform well.

The cheapest PSAPs cost roughly $30, and more expensive models can set you back up to $250. Compared to the average cost of a prescription hearing aid- $1,000-$5,000- even a top-of-the-line PSAP is very affordable.

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Hearing Amplifier?

PSAPs can be purchased in most major pharmacies and supermarkets, but the best place to find a sound amplifier for yourself is by shopping online.

Because sound amplifiers aren’t always customizable and therefore work perfectly for some people but not others, it helps to have a wide selection. By shopping on large online marketplaces such as Amazon, you have the ability to try out multiple devices and return them, making sure that you get the right fit and performance for your needs.


If you have light to moderate hearing loss, getting a personal sound amplifier is a great way to combat the effects of hearing loss without obtaining a prescription. Which type of PSAP do you think is right for you? Which benefit of personal sound amplifiers stood out to you most? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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