Charlotte County Florida Weekly

Health care technology must be used properly



We are living in a world that is changing at a rapid pace. In health care, technology is increasingly playing a role in almost all areas, from patient records to data monitoring, from lab tests to self-care tools.

Devices like smartphones and tablets are starting to replace conventional monitoring and recording systems, and people are now given the option of undergoing consultation in their own homes.

While technology can improve efficiency and the delivery of care, it must be used properly and safely. Recently, big technological companies have made a big push in personal amplification devices, known as PSAP, or over-the-counter amplification devices. According to Dr. Robert Sweetow, professor of otolaryngology at the University of California, San Francisco, PSAPs have not been approved as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration; they are classified as wearable electronic products for occasional, recreational use by consumers who are not hearing-impaired.



This can be good and not so good for the end user.

These products can make amplification more accessible and affordable, but because they are not called hearing aids, they are not FDA regulated to the appropriate standards. Although the cost of a PSAP is attractive, doctor/patient interaction is nonexistent.

A 2016 study by Laura Ann Wilber, Ph.D., found that low-end hearing aids and PSAPs had inappropriately high amounts of low-frequency gain. High-end PSAPs provided appropriate levels of amplification and directional benefit for users, but only for mild to moderate losses. Some low-end PSAPs and hearing aids were found to be inappropriate for any configuration and severity of high-frequency hearing losses. Because of their mantra of “do no harm,” it is difficult for medical professionals to support PSAPs and other related devices.

If you have questions or want to discuss the change in hearing instrument technology, please contact us. ¦

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