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 of these apps often promised 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 sounds around people with normal hearing and it’s aim is to accentuate sounds in certain situations such as when environmental sounds can interfere, or to watch television when someone else is asleep.”

The association 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 study on the differences between hearing aids and sound amplification devices.

Hearing aids, which do compensate for hearing disorders, require fitting by a hearing health care professional.

ANA advise “careful use” of sound amplifiers and apps using this system.