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A hearing aid and personal hearing or sound amplifier, both actually perceive sound as input. Thus, they both amplify and deliver sound direct to the ear. The distinction of the names really stemmed from the FDA’s purpose of regulating one and not regulating the other. The FDA solely regulates hearing aids, not Personal sound Amplifiers.
A hearing aid is a sound-amplifying device worn for the sheer purpose of compensating impaired hearing. On the other hand, a personal hearing amplifier is a wearable device intended to amplify sounds within the environment for non-hearing disadvantaged consumers, for several reasons including recreational activities. Hearing aids are usually more costly but with better quality as they are devised for the benefit of those with hearing problems. Personal hearing amplifiers, however, are usually inexpensive and with sparse features.
The use of hearing aids are adjudged necessary and essential by the doctor after thorough examinations. Therefore, they are prescribed in contrast to personal hearing amplifiers, which people are usually discouraged to use if not necessary as frequent usage could lead to hearing damage.