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HP’s Pro hearing aids are great for short-term use

HP’s Pro hearing aids are great for short-term use

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Excellent Bluetooth streaming

Simple, effective enhancement

Lackluster customization

These OTC hearing aids from HP have a multitude of impressive features including effective speech filters, noise cancellation, Bluetooth streaming, and more.

Aside from easy setup, HP makes it incredibly simple for users to customize their hearing aids with an in-app hearing test.

The HP Hearing Pro hearing aids come in a nice carry case that doubles as a charging station when paired with the included USB-C cable. The case can also store more than one full charge, allowing users to replenish the devices on the go without being tethered to a power source.

Along with a user manual and a quick start guide, new buyers will also find a cleaning brush, which is mandatory to maintain and expand the product’s lifespan, comfort, and listening experience after prolonged use. The package also features a carry bag as well as small, medium, and large silicone ear tips, with mediums preinstalled. Users should test all sizes to find which fits best for you. Fit is especially important when trying new hearing aids, as a tight fit often ensures the best hearing-enhancement results.

The HP Hearing Pro hearing aids are self-fitting, which means they have an app that adjusts the devices to one’s personal listening needs. To accomplish this feat, HP has crafted the free HP Hearing App for Android and iOS.

Once paired with your devices, the app directs you through a hearing test, which takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. After the hearing test finishes, the app develops a specific “Ear ID,” which illustrates and captures the strengths and weaknesses in tone for each ear. Ear ID can be turned on and off for those who prefer a more standardized set of features.

After your devices are completely set up and ready to use, the Hearing App allows you to further control “World Volume,” which is the basic amplification function of louder versus quieter. There’s also a “Focus” control, meaning you can reduce the noise input from sounds coming from behind you, which is ideal for crowded, noisy areas or restaurants.

Setting up these devices proved to be very easy. I had no issues downloading the app from Google Play or the App Store, nor connecting the hearing devices to the app and smart device or completing the hearing test. The entire process was seamless on both platforms, which is rare, as many OTC hearing aids I’ve tested seem to offer slight preference to the Apple ecosystem. To find a product that works easily with any mainstream device was a pleasant surprise.

Streaming music and phone calls directly to your device is one of the best features the HP Hearing Pro hearing aids have to offer. Many OTC hearing aids don’t support this feature, so the fact the HP Hearing Pro eliminates the need to carry wireless earbuds becomes a huge competitive advantage.

Phone calls come in clear as well, and I had no problems making or receiving phone calls. To answer, just tap one of your hearing aid devices. To hang up, simply tap and hold the device for 2 seconds. Very simple to use for streaming music and phone calls in very high quality, versatility is one of the best features of the HP Hearing Pro beyond its basic hearing aid functions.

Charging on the go can be accomplished with the portable charging case that provides a full additional charge if necessary.

HP did an excellent job designing its charging case, which is an aspect often overlooked by other OTC hearing aid manufacturers. A poorly designed case can make a device unpleasant to use, if not totally impractical. Some hearing aid cases do not come with any additional battery storage at all, but the HP Hearing Pro case holds an additional full charge and then some.

The HP Hearing Pro case also is easy to stuff in your pocket. Many hearing aids come with large, bulky cases that cannot be comfortably stored in your pocket, which, for me, makes the case unusable since I am always on the go, and I don’t carry around a purse or a bag to store the case inside. The HP case is comfortably able to remain in my pocket all day.

Its indicator lights aren’t confusing either. Charged is indicated as green, and, if the batteries are low, the indicator lights appear as amber. There is an additional indicator light on the side that informs you of the status of the charger itself, showing whether it has that full additional charge stored or not. It’s all very simple to understand, which is something that can’t be said of some competing products. The experience could be improved by adding a precise percentage indicator for charge levels, but I still appreciate the simple, straightforward approach used here.

These OTC hearing aids from HP have a multitude of impressive features including effective speech filters, noise cancellation, Bluetooth streaming, and more.

The HP Hearing Pros do an acceptable job enhancing sounds for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Those who fall into this category will definitely notice a difference in symptoms, as the amplification of these aids is great, especially when used to watch TV or talk to others.

These would perform well in a classroom setting or when dining out, because they are sufficient in amplifying speech coming from in front of you. Overall, this is a simple, no-frills experience. You take the hearing test and are then able to adjust the general volume and directionality of your current sound profile. That’s it. For those looking for something simple and reasonably effective, the HP Pros certainly have that to offer.

Unlike other hearing aids that are more discreet, these are quite large and have been adorned with a visible HP logo, making them hard to miss.

The HP Hearing Pros are big, bulky, and heavy compared to other devices you’ll find on the market right now. You are not going to forget these are in your ears, nor are you going to trick anyone into believing you aren’t wearing hearing aids. Though discreetness has never been a major concern of mine, others may feel differently. In terms of removing the stigma surrounding hearing aids, bulky hardware like this doesn’t exactly help the cause.

In modern culture, wireless earbuds are quite common. With the HP Hearing Pros looking more like wireless earbuds than hearing aids, this design choice could lead to some unpleasant assumptions. As a restaurant worker, if I approach a customer with these in my ears, they might assume I’m interacting with diners and fellow employees with earbuds in, not hearing aids. That misunderstanding alone lends itself to issues with people possibly labeling you as rude, unavailable, or evasive when, in fact, you are just trying to hear them better to interact with them more effectively.

Given this added size and weight, I expected the battery life of the HP Hearing Pro’s rechargeable batteries to be more substantial. Instead, they are shockingly disappointing in this regard. If you’re lucky, these devices will last just 8-9 hours when fully charged. With the charging case, (which requires 3 hours to fully charge your devices) you can store about 24 hours of total battery life. Still, I can’t help but feel that a device of this size and weight should probably have the ability to last 12-14 hours on a single charge without having to remove them at all.

As an owner-manager of a restaurant it’s not uncommon for me to work 12-hour shifts, which means these devices can’t get me through an entire day of work. Additionally, according to the product manual, the lifespan of the batteries themselves when only charged two or three times per week is approximately 2-3 years. Moreover, after about 400 recharges, your devices will allegedly lose 20% of their battery capacity. For someone like me who’s recharging frequently, it could take as little as 18 months to hit that 20% threshold.

For me, and likely many others, these hearing aids are just not suitable for all-day use regardless of how effective and seamless they may be in setup and streaming.

Even with its customizable capabilities, I still found Ear ID to be too simple for my taste.

The HP Hearing Pro hearing aids lack customization in their enhancement abilities. After taking the 10-minute hearing test and establishing your Ear ID, there is not much more that can be done to tailor your hearing experience. Other OTC hearing devices allow users to manipulate certain frequencies, control bass and treble, turn noise control off and on, or other finetuning settings are typically available through the app.

I think the HP Hearing Pros would benefit greatly from adding more features like these in the event one wants to tweak their Ear ID once it’s established. Personally, I would like more control over noise reduction of crackling and shuffling sounds, such noise made by plastic bags or window blinds that often tend to be too loud for my liking. It would be a major plus if I could go into the app and finetune the devices to eliminate this problem.

HP Hearing Pro Self-Fitting Hearing Aids are adequate in increasing hearing performance for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Their price is highly affordable compared to other options on the market. At just $700, you will struggle to find cheaper options that aren’t far worse than these.

The majority of prescription hearing aids can easily cost more than $1,200-$2,500 per hearing aid, and OTC hearing aids are typically between $1,000-$2,500 per pair. In that regard, the HP Pros offer decent mid-range performance for a mid-range price. Despite their affordability and adequate quality as a hearing aid, though, I probably wouldn’t recommend these to those who can afford to spend more and need a functioning hearing aid for more than eight hours per day.

These OTC hearing aids from HP have a multitude of impressive features including effective speech filters, noise cancellation, Bluetooth streaming, and more.

Category: Technology

Source: USA Today Technology

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