Spanish audiology experts stress dangers of sound amplification apps



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Prolonged use of sound amplification apps such as Google's Sound Amplifier may cause hearing problems instead of easing them, warns the National Association of Audiologists of Spain (ANA).

On issuing this recent alert, this professional grouping pointed out that online advertising and promotion for these apps often promise results they cannot deliver, as if the apps were an equivalent of hearing aids.

"Recently, some news media have published news of Google's latest app, Sound Amplifier, as a new solution for people with hearing loss," ANA affirms, pointing out that Sound Amplifier is an electronic device "aimed at amplifying the environmental sound around persons with normal hearing and its aim is to accentuate sounds in certain situations, such as when environmental sound can interfere, or to watch television while someone else is asleep." The association, whose current president is Jordi Serra, underlined that the amplifier does not compensate for hearing disorders, so it is "not a health product and is subject to regulations for electronic apparatus."

Sound Amplifier and apps such as uSound and Petralex are based on a sound amplification system. They use the microphone integrated into mobile phones to capture environmental sound and channel the audio output through headphones.

ANA pointed out that some years ago it carried out a joint study with the Spanish Medicine and Health Products Agency on the differences between hearing aids and sound amplification devices, which would now include these apps, the Association adds.

Hearing aids, which do compensate for hearing disorders, require a prescription in Spain. This must come from an ENT specialist or a hearing care professional. The user also needs an individualised fitting performed by a prosthetic audiologist. The sale of hearing aids is not authorised either for internet or in temporary or non-specialist establishments.

ANA advises "careful use" of sound amplifiers and apps using this system.

Source: Audio en Portada