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These OTC hearing aids have super sound quality if you don’t mind the price

These OTC hearing aids have super sound quality if you don’t mind the price

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The Eargo 6 hearing aids provide strong sound quality by amplifying speech and cancelling out noise.

The Eargo 6 hearing aids are specifically designed to service those suffering from mild-to- moderate and high-frequency hearing loss. They are technologically stellar products that pursue high-quality features such as extended-life microrechargeable batteries, water resistance, super-comfortable materials, and very tiny (practically invisible) in-the-canal designs. The package comes with a carry case that doubles as a charging case/dock, a set of large and medium closed and open pedals, a USB-C charging cord, and cleaning supplies to help maintain the devices during use.

Once the hearing aids are fully charged, users begin the setup process through the Eargo app, which takes about 45 minutes to complete. The app features a hearing test with Sound Match Technology that matches your individual hearing profile with the hearing aid’s amplification abilities to eliminate your auditory difficulty as much as possible. After about two days of use, I found myself needing to charge the device. Fortunately, the carry case doubles as a portable recharging station, capable of fully replenishing the hearing aids’ batteries while away from an outlet.

One of the product’s most pronounced features is its ability to customize three personalized environmental programs that can be selected via the companion app or by tapping your ear. These settings include “television,” “restaurant,” or even “mask,” and they are made to optimize the Eargo 6 to best suit your current environment. Each individual setting reduces background noise and emphasizes the sounds you need to hear.

The slim design of this portable charging case makes it easy to transport hearing aids in pockets and purses.

I’ve reviewed many over-the-counter hearing aids, and I believe Eargo has designed one of the best carry cases I have ever used. The Eargo 6 carry case is slim, so it’s easy to slide into your pocket without much fuss.

Perhaps its greatest feature is that it offers a backup charge stored within the case itself. If I am at work and the Eargo 6s are nearly dead, I can remove them, put them in the hearing aid case, and, in a few hours or so, the devices are fully charged and ready to service the rest of my day.

The hearing aids have a battery life of 16 hours according to the manufacturer’s manual, so, if charged nightly, you might avoid on-the-go-charging altogether. That said, accidents happen, so having a backup charge stored in a carry case is one of my favorite features of the Eargo 6.

The engineering and attention to detail of these hearing aids is second to none, and the sound quality and amplification is impressive. Background noise is reduced to a whisper, while important sounds are amplified to a comfortable, clear, and audible level. In fact, during testing, I often found myself setting the TV volume to a lower setting than others in the room preferred.

Though I typically find myself sticking to the “normal” setting, the Eargo app features three additional environmental presets that provide tailored sound quality to suit specific environments you may find yourself in. For example, I work in a restaurant setting where customers or staff may be wearing masks. The Eargos allow me to set my hearing preference to “restaurant” or “mask” to offer a crisper sound experience when these situations arise.

Although the Eargo 6s are petite, their sound quality and performance doesn’t suffer.

The Eargo 6s are tiny! They are small enough to fit entirely in the ear canal without a pull string sticking out to remove the device. In short, almost no one would notice you are wearing this product unless you pointed it out yourself. I wore them for several days before my wife realized I had them in, and even that was only after I called her attention to them. Simply put, they are the most discreet hearing aids I have tested to date.

The Eargo 6 hearing aids are also very comfortable. You will likely experience the new itchy sensation all hearing aid users are likely familiar with when first using a new device. If you have not had hearing aids this discomfort may require some adjustment, but the itch should subside as you become used to the devices’ fit. I prefer the closed pedals to maximize amplification, and I personally find them fairly comfortable, but there is no doubt the open pedals are more pleasant to wear and could be a better solution for those with sensitive ears.

I can wear these hearing aids for hours on end without ear fatigue, excessive ear heat or any other similar issues. Especially with regard to comfort, the over-the-counter Eargo 6s rival prescription-level alternatives.

Unfortunately, you’ll have better success with the Eargo app if you’re using a newer device, which takes away from the product’s broad accessibility.

Using the Eargo app was a struggle. First and foremost, only a select number of devices are even compatible with it. If you have a newer Apple, Samsung, or Google Pixel device your hardware is likely to be compatible, but own anything slightly older, and you are likely out of luck.

My Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is only 2 years old and is not compatible with these hearing aids. I would like to see more devices, such as tablets and older phone models, be compatible with the Eargo app. Such restrictions are very disappointing, as every other OTC hearing aid I’ve tested thus far has been able to run its app off my tablet. The Eargo 6s could not.

After the charger is connected, users are walked through a short tutorial and hearing test. In my experience this automated exam can be faulty at times. There were multiple instances where tones came in delayed, or no tones played at all. I thought perhaps the sounds were just so faint I wasn’t hearing them, so, when it asked if I had heard a sound, I initially responded in the negative. However, after testing the right hearing aid entirely without hearing any sound, I retested and heard more tones than the previous attempt, but it still seemed buggy.

I am not exactly sure why this shortcoming occurs, but the hearing test was not uniformly effective or responsive during testing. It’s worth noting that many other users across Android and iOS appear to also have similar issues with the app, as ratings on both app stores are fairly low, with a 2.4/5 rating on Google Play and a 2.8/5 rating on Apple’s App Store. The developer is very responsive on these storefronts, responding to many constructive comments, so hopefully improvements will be made and these issues will be resolved over time.

The Eargo 6’s technological engineering is undeniably impressive. However, as new over-the-counter hearing aid legislation drives down prices for aids with premium construction, Eargo lags behind comparable brands in terms of general cost and affordability.

These hearing aids are still significantly cheaper than audiologist-prescribed products that cost between $1,200-$2,550 per ear. The Eargo 6, on the other hand, is regularly priced at about $2,100-$2,500 per pair. This is significantly more expensive than other devices in the over-the-counter market.

If discreetness is an important feature, then the Eargos will probably be your best bet despite the higher price. But, if you’re willing to have a bigger device (or perhaps a behind-the-ear design), you can get similarly powerful devices for less than half the cost.

The Eargo ear pedals also cost $40 for three pairs and are suggested to be changed every two months. This makes the required investment for Eargo 6s even greater, as they could run you an additional $80 per year to maintain. Eargo does offer financing options on its website for those seeking to purchase high-quality hearing aids under financial constraints.

Given the Eargo 6’s comparatively high price, it would’ve been nice to have the ability to stream TV and music audio directly into the hearing aids. Perhaps future iterations of the Eargo will include full Bluetooth connectivity, but the Eargo 6s do not. This is disappointing, because it means the devices must be removed and exchanged for traditional earbuds to listen to music throughout the day.

If you are an avid user of Bluetooth earbuds, I highly suggest you carry your Eargo case with you. Given the tiny size of the Eargo 6 devices, you shouldn’t remove them without the case, as they could be easily lost or damaged.

I sometimes forget cases at home and would not be comfortable taking these hearing aids out and placing them anywhere without a means of extra protection. In the future, I would love to see Eargo remove the need to carry around two separate cases for hearing aids and earbuds in the event I ever want to use headphones.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile and pay more when it comes to your hearing aids, the Eargo 6s are a great choice.

Despite their comparatively high price point and buggy setup, I believe anyone who buys a pair of Eargo 6s will be satisfied with their features and ability to alleviate one’s mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

Category: Technology

Source: USA Today Technology

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