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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).


Hearing aids and PSAPs can both 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.

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Bob C
May 02, 2018
How does a hearing do anything other than amplify the sound. I am wearing a pair that cost $6500 over five years ago. Their unique feature is that in a crowed room you will not pick up background noises. That is the only thing you pick up in a crowed room
Pat Neel
May 02, 2018
The “ hearing aids” are a complete rip-off. I was recently quoted a price of $8400.00 for a pair. The expert immediately dropped the price by $3000.00.Who is kidding who? I have computers at home that cost less than a quarter of his last quote. The problem is twofold!! GREED & OVERHEAD.The one I deal with has 61 outlets. Come on people. Do your homework!! What am I paying for?
May 03, 2018
Hearing loss often affects one part of hearing, like higher frequency sounds, the f and s sounds that make it difficult to understand words. A good hearing aid boosts sound for YOUR hearing loss and doesn't boost the sounds you already hear. I've tried cheaper products - had to remove them in a restaurant because everything was fed into my ear. Worse than no help at all. Get a test to see what you need!
May 03, 2018
Even with $6500 set of hearing aids setup Is crucial in good results in comfort and quality of hearing, make sure the technician knows how and does a thorough set up of your amplification and noise cancelling that only they can do with the computer setup. Do not let them rush you through setup as some only want your money and out the door. I have found you are also buying the support when you buy the aids, good or bad.
old audiophile
May 16, 2018
Maybe once upon a time when sales volumes were small and miniaturization costs were high one could justify the high cost of hearing aids. No more. What I don't understand is why a company that can make and market a PSAP doesn't make a real hearing aid. It's simple digital audio technology.