Money pit: why personal sound amplifiers cost more in the long run

It's common for those who realize they're suffering from hearing loss to take to the internet in search of answers and potential solutions. Some may stumble across Amazon or another online retailer and consider buying a personal sound amplification product (PSAP) thinking it will be a cost-effective way to solve their problem.

While it's very possible that PSAPs could offer short-term relief, in most cases it's really like buying an old, used car rather than investing in something more reliable. Here are three reasons why:

1. Customer support is usually nonexistent

When it comes to hearing health, it's crucial to work with an audiologist who is knowledgeable about hearing loss so they can adjust your hearing device and customize the technology to meet your personal needs. This is something you completely miss out on when you purchase a PSAP.

2. You'll end up spending more money

Buying a hearing device with full audiologist support is important because audiologists understand the nuances of hearing health and can help develop personalized solutions. On the other hand, if anything is wrong with your PSAP, you are essentially on your own.

You'll end up spending more money. PSAPs may save you money at first, but in the long run you'll find yourself in a "money pit" situation. You may try a number of PSAPs at lower price points in an effort to save money, then realize that none of them give you the help you need for better hearing.

Essentially, you get what you pay for. No matter how much money you pour into a cheap product, it will never be quite "right."

Meanwhile, advanced hearing technology gives you the latest design features to address the issue you're actually having by making sound clearer and not just louder. Today's hearing aids are designed for people with active lifestyles. The investment may be more upfront, but you have something that will make a big difference in your life, is reliable and saves you time as well.

3. They could cause more harm than good

PSAPs never truly get you where you want to be, and they can actually make hearing more difficult because they make everything louder. There is also a possibility that the device is set too loud, which could harm your hearing.

In this scenario, you could end up with a poorly fit PSAP that doesn't give you the help you really need. This means you essentially spent time and money but got no further on your journey to healthy hearing. At the end of the day, this means you're still not hearing clearly, and prolonged hearing loss can be associated with things such as social isolation, depression, and even cognitive decline.

Most people who take the PSAP route do so in an effort to save money. And while proper and modern hearing aids aren't exactly cheap, they are a better long-term investment for your health.

Those who have looked into devices to help their hearing probably already understand that most health plans don't cover hearing aids. This is why they search for cheaper solutions. Still, there are hearing aid options available that are affordable but not "cheap," and these more affordable solutions are also high quality.

By Dr. Christina Callahan, Au.D., Head of Clinical Audiology at Jabra Enhance