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Research Letter
July 4, 2017

Personal Sound Amplification Products vs a Conventional Hearing Aid for Speech Understanding in Noise

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Deaf Studies, Towson University, Towson, Maryland
JAMA. 2017;318(1):89-90. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.6905

Presently, hearing aids can only be purchased in the United States through a licensed professional, with a mean cost of $4700 for 2 hearing aids (uncovered by Medicare).1-3 According to nationally representative estimates based on 2605 adults from 1999 through 2006, less than 20% of adults with hearing loss report hearing aid use.4 Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are less-expensive, over-the-counter devices not specifically labeled for hearing loss treatment, but some are technologically comparable with hearing aids and may be appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.1 We compared a sample of these devices with a conventional hearing aid among individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.