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The Olive Branch

PSAP vs Hearing Aid...What's the Difference?

PSAP vs Hearing Aid...What's the Difference?

What is a PSAP? Is a PSAP right for me? If you or a loved one in your family is looking for a hearing device, you’ve probably started to ask questions like this one. There are many hearing aids and sound amplification products on the market, and sometimes it's hard to tell what is the best for you.

Some are Bluetooth devices, some offer rechargeable batteries, and some provide the convenience of not needing a trip to a specialist for set up and adjustment. It helps to do some research to determine what type of device or product meets your personal needs before committing to a purchase. 


Digital Hearing Aids vs. Analog Hearing Aids

Many people hear about digital hearing aids, but aren’t sure what makes them different from analog hearing aids. Simply put, analog hearing aids amplify all sounds equally, while digital hearing aids convert sound waves into digital signals, and customize them before letting them be played to the user through the hearing aid speakers. The computer chips in digital hearing aids actually analyzes sounds, so they can be adjusted as needed. Because of that feature, they can also be better customized to meet an individual’s specific type of hearing loss. 

Whether digital or analog, all hearing aids all still focus on helping the hearing impaired. A digital hearing aid is usually programmed by an audiologist to enhance the areas of hearing loss specific to an individual patient. These devices typically cost in the thousands with some even going into the five-figures, and are most often not covered by health insurance.  

What is a PSAP? (Personal Sound Amplification Product)

The term PSAP stands for "Personal Sound Amplification Product" and has been gaining in popularity recently as new technology evolves to make sound amplification products better able to pick up sounds and provide clear reception at a very affordable price.

The biggest difference between hearing aids and PSAPs is that a hearing aid is a medical device intended to treat hearing loss, and a PSAP is not. PSAPs are not intended to be used as medical devices, and are used for amplifying sounds or providing sound clarity in noisy environments.

Olive Union's product, the Olive Smart Ear, for example, is a PSAP and not a hearing aid. It helps to hear better and clearer in noisy environments such as restaurants, and can also personalize sound settings using a 5 min sound calibration process with the app.

PSAPs are perfect for people who aren’t hearing impaired, but sometimes have difficulty understanding conversations in noisy places or hearing TV sounds when watching with someone that prefers a different volume. Does that sound like you or someone you love? It’s an annoying problem that many times a PSAP can help with. 

However, as useful as PSAPs may be, doctors still recommend getting a check-up from your primary care doctor for sudden and unexplained hearing loss. The hearing loss could be a sign of something as easily treatable as ear wax or as concerning as a tumor. Cancer is, of course, a very slim possibility, but it’s just better to play it safe with a check-up and get professional advice.

PSAPs have allowed the individual consumer to choose from many options when they need a sound amplification device. With a PSAP like the Olive Smart Ear being sold online and at an affordable price, it offers greater options for all consumers.  

What’s the Deal with Bluetooth Hearing Aids and PSAPs?

Everyone knows and loves Bluetooth technology with their smartphones, virtual assistants and other electronic devices. That same convenience can now be found on many models of Bluetooth hearing aids and Bluetooth PSAP products. Just like on a Bluetooth earbud, a Bluetooth hearing aid or a Bluetooth PSAP allows you to make and receive calls, listen to music and other entertainment that’s on a Bluetooth enabled device.

The Olive Smart Ear takes this technology one step further by connecting with a smartphone app that allows you to create custom sound amplification settings. It takes just 5 min for a sound calibration process that will personalize the amplification settings to each specific user.


Rechargeable Hearing Aids and PSAPs

Another awesome advancement in hearing devices in general is the switch from costly batteries that constantly needed replacing to rechargeable batteries. A rechargeable hearing aid or PSAP offers the convenience of simply recharging overnight for repeated use and never having to think about finding and replacing batteries. 

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As you can see, technology has advanced to offer many more options for those looking for new hearing experiences. With more affordable options with greater technology, these products can give you the sound boost you need in a format and price tag that’s right for you.

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The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources:

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/hearing-aids-and-personal-sound-amplifiers-know-difference

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/otc-hearing-aids-are-coming-but-theyre-not-for-everyone/

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/05/ftc-sound-amplifier-not-hearing-aid

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/24/524946910/is-it-time-for-hearing-aids-to-be-sold-over-the-counter

https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/regulatory-requirements-hearing-aid-devices-and-personal-sound-amplification-products-draft-guidance



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