NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What types of amplification products can you recommend to help people with hearing impairment? My 62-year-old husband has some hearing issues but doesn’t think he needs a hearing aid, so I’m looking for some alternative devices that can help.
— Shouting Spouse
If your husband is reluctant to get a hearing aid, there are dozens of “personal sound amplification products” (PSAPs) that can help him hear better at a lower cost than most hearing aids, which can run up to $3,000 each.
PSAPs are over-the-counter electronic products (they are not FDA-approved medical devices like hearing aids) that come in many different shapes and sizes that will give your husband the ability to adjust the volume and tone so he can hear better in different situations.
It’s also important to know that PSAPs work best for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment, you don’t need a prescription to buy them and they usually aren’t covered by insurance or Medicare.
Before you look into PSAPs, your husband should probably get tested by an audiologist who can rule out any medical issues that could be affecting his hearing, like excessive ear wax, an infection, abnormal bone growth or inner-ear tumor. Audiologists also are familiar with the different PSAPs and can help your husband choose the best products to meet his needs, or let him know if a hearing aid would be a better option.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the different PSAPs that can help.
· TV and Telephone Amplifiers: To hear the television better, there are a number of TV listening devices on the market that will let your husband increase the volume and adjust the tone to meet his needs, without blasting out you or the rest of the family.