Good hearing is essential to enjoying the shooting sports for both safety and situational awareness. Clinical hearing loss is increasing and occurring at younger ages according to Garry G. Gordon, Audiologist with over 35 years of experience and CEO of E.A.R., Inc.
New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations have defined a new class of product, the Personal Sound Amplification Product (PSAP). While hearing aids are defined as medical devices and require a visit to a licensed dispensing audiologist, hearing aid dispenser, or ENT doctor, the PSAP doesn’t. The PSAP is ideal for those seeking additional sound amplification and who don’t require a medical diagnosis. High quality digital hearing aids can cost upwards of $6,000 per set while PSAP’s can be purchased for $299-$599 per ear.
Some PSAP’s even allow for Bluetooth connections. Many in the shooting sports may try to use their electronic hearing protection as an amplification device with less than ideal results due to circuitry designed primarily for protection.
New guidelines are also forthcoming from the FDA regarding Over The Counter (OTC) hearing aids that should allow for lower cost options that will be available from non-traditional sources such as big box retailers. Everyone should have their hearing professionally tested and evaluated with options for protection and/or augmentation discussed.
Article credit: TrapShootingUSA.