Sound Amplifiers Are Not hearing Aids
FTC Consumer Education Specialist
May 2, 2018
An estimated 35 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. If you're one of them, it's important to know the difference between a hearing aid and a personal sound amplification product (PSAP). Both can improve a person's ability to hear sound. They are both wearable, and some of their technology and function is similar. However, only hearing aids are intended to make up for impaired hearing.
So when Florida-based Global Concepts Limited, Inc. claimed its inexpensive MSA 30X sound amplifier can improve people's hearing, providing sound quality or speech recognition benefits similar to hearing aids, the FTC took notice. Ads for MSA 30X claimed, for example, that the product allows users to hear people clearly in crowded restaurants without missing a word. Over the course of its investigation, the FTC found the defendants had no proof to back up their claims.
Today, the FTC announced that Global Concepts Limited, Inc. has agreed to settle a complaint alleging it made false or unsubstantiated claims that MSA 30X allows people who have trouble hearing to hear clearly, and falsely represented that independent studies prove the MSA 30X helps people hear up to 30 times better.
People should buy a PSAP only after ruling out hearing loss as a reason for getting one. If you suspect hearing loss, get your hearing evaluated by a health care professional. If a hearing aid is right for you, it's a good idea to do some research. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Look for a reliable provider. Ask family and friends for referrals, talk with your doctor, and check out potential sellers (retailers, audiologists, and dispensers) online before you visit.
- Consider the price. As with many tech devices, a more expensive model might be worth the price to you, or it might contain fancy features you don't really need. At the same time, be skeptical of hearing aids that seem to have an exceptionally low price.
- Don't buy a hearing aid without first trying it out. Most states require a 30- to 60-day trial period.
To learn more, check out the FTC publication, Buying a Hearing Aid.
This article was posted on May 2, 2018.