Eargo hearing aids are relatively new to the market and sold direct to consumer (DTC). Eargo has only been on the market since 2015 so the company is a relative newcomer in the space. They call their hearing aids “self fitting” and market them as a cheaper alternative than traditional hearing aids with many of the same features and much of the same technology. Eargo hearing aids were made to be virtually invisible. The company strives to create devices that are discreet so that others do not know you are wearing a hearing aid, and comfortable so that even you may forget you are wearing one. Companies like Eargo have found their way to the hearing aid market as rules and regulations around hearing aids are made looser and some DTC hearing aids, including the Eargo brand, are FDA-approved. The following is a description and review of the different Eargo hearing aid models and styles.
Things to Consider Before Buying
There are a lot of adults who would benefit from wearing hearing aids, but a large percentage of adults who need them never purchase them. There are two main reasons why this is the case:
- They cost too much.
- The process to purchase them is too long and difficult.
Eargo hearing aids were created to fight against both of these objections as they are both significantly less expensive than traditional hearing aids and easier to purchase. All you need is a simple online hearing test and then you are ready to purchase them, receive them, and put them in your ears.
The problem with Eargo hearing aids is that, while they offer some advantages and try to overcome the two largest objectives of hearing aid wearers, they do not offer the best solution to hearing loss. They are better than nothing, but hearing loss is different for every person which means the solution should be as well. A good solution to hearing loss is one that is customized both for the size and shape of your ear and then set and honed according to the degree of hearing loss that you have. A one size fits all approach does not generally work in the world of hearing aids, so there is not a high likelihood that an Eargo hearing aid will be exactly what you need for an ideal hearing experience.
When it comes to the Eargo brand, you have to decide what is most important for you and your hearing. If you are more focused on convenience and price and you suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss, then Eargo could be a good option. They also offer high end features and technology in a rechargeable and almost invisible device. If, on the other hand, your focus is on finding the right solution for the size and shape of your ear and the level of hearing loss you have, then you should speak with your audiologist and let them help you find the best solution available.
- Considerably cheaper than traditional high end hearing aids.
- No professional fitting required.
- They are all Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC) hearing aids so they are almost imperceptible when in use.
- 1-year or 2-year warranty depending on which model you choose.
- FDA-approved hearing aids that can be purchased over the counter.
- Very convenient and easy to purchase.
- The online hearing test is easy to use and convenient.
- Lifetime support from hearing specialists after the sale.
- All Eargo hearing aids come in pairs.
- A 45-day trial period to make sure you like it as well as access to a non-working model for free to test for comfort.
- Can be adjusted through the app.
- You do not get the same level of customization and service that you get with an audiologist.
- A “self fitting” hearing aid will probably not operate at an optimal level.
- You cannot effectively stream music over Bluetooth to these devices.
- Only one waterproof/water-resistant model and that is the Eargo 6.
- No Behind-The-Ear (BTE) or larger In-The-Ear (ITE) options.
- Only for mild to moderate hearing loss.
- Requires nightly cleaning and recharging.
Features & Benefits of Each Model
With Eargo hearing aids, some things come standard regardless of which device you choose. This is a list of what you get with every Eargo purchase:
- Left and right hearing aids.
- A charger with a USB cord.
- A cleaning cloth and brush.
- Textured design to help hold the hearing aid in place.
- Extra wax guards and wax guard changing tool
- A small portable container.
- A user manual.
Along with what you physically receive, there are also certain features that come standard in each device:
- A rechargeable battery.
- CIC style that is virtually invisible.
- Self-fitting features.
- Telecare from hearing specialists that can help you at any time.
- Eargo 6
The Eargo 6 is the flagship model for Eargo and can be purchased for $2,950. WIth the “Sound Adjust” feature, the hearing aids automatically change settings depending on your environment. This is a great convenience feature because you do not have to do anything to adjust your hearing aids to the environment you are in. They are also the first water-resistant hearing aids offered by Eargo. The Eargo 6 features a “lower volume situation” setting that allows you to enjoy quiet and silence. The Eargo 6 also processes sound so quickly that it can make adjustments every 10-30 milliseconds to optimize your ability to hear speech in the noisiest environments. It also comes with the Eargo app.
- Eargo 5
The Eargo 5 is the first model that can be controlled by the Eargo app. The cost of the Eargo 5 is $2,450 but it comes with a few extra features compared to the first two options. The three most noticeable differences will be the Eargo app, the personalized hearing features, and the closed petal design for the most comfortable fit possible. A feature called “Sound Match” allows you to hone the settings of your hearing aid to your personal preferences using the app. You can also use the app to adjust your settings and choose from preset options at any point.
- Eargo Neo HiFi
The Eargo Neo HiFi costs $1,950 and is the first model with a dedicated app. With the Neo HiFi app you can customize your hearing experience by adding app-controlled settings that automatically adjusts your hearing aids to your environment. You also get a wind reduction feature to add to the noise reduction that is already present in the Max. The Neo HiFi model has a slightly different design that is meant for a more comfortable fit while still allowing air to flow. This is a good value choice because you get good features for a great price and access to a smartphone app.
- Eargo Max
At $1,450, the Eargo Max is Eargo’s first and most basic model. It is important to note that this is the only model that is not mobile app enabled and this feature is becoming more important because of the prevalence of smartphones for every age group. The Eargo Max has 4 hearing settings that you can use, but because it is not app-enabled there is no real way to customize these settings like there is with the other models. The 4 hearing settings are TV, restaurant, phone, and normal.
Design/Type of Hearing Aid
Eargo hearing aids come in four models and each model is a CIC style hearing aid. Eargo’s philosophy, according to their website, is invisibility. They want to create a hearing aid that is so small nobody else knows you are wearing it, so comfortable that you even forget you are wearing it, and rechargeable so you have one less thing to consider.
One of the major downsides of Eargo hearing aids is that they work best for more mild degrees of hearing loss and do not work well at all for severe to profound hearing loss. Eargo hearing aids can only adjust with you to a certain point, so if your hearing loss progresses you will have to adjust to a new brand and type of hearing aid.
Fit and Wearability
Eargo hearing aids are made to be “self fitting” and they use a textured ear tip, that is different depending on the model, to help the hearing aid stay in place. There is no customized fitting, but the design of the hearing aids are built so that the device automatically adjusts to your ear. Part of the goal of Eargo is to develop a hearing aid that is so comfortable you forget it is there.
Every Eargo model comes with a rechargeable battery. You simply put your hearing aids in the case that is included with your purchase, plug it into any power source before you go to bed, and you wake up with a full charge the next day. A full charge gives you at least 16 hours of usage which is up to 2 full days of charge.
- Sound quality
None of the Eargo models offer directional microphones which makes it difficult to pinpoint where sounds originate. This is a basic feature in almost every high-end hearing aid and it is a real negative for the Eargo brand. Directional microphones are one of the best ways to reduce background noise by focusing on speech.
Eargo hearing aids are very small and comfortable so that it does not take long for you to adapt to them. The petal design also helps with air flow and keeps that “stopped up” feeling away.
- Adaptive noise reduction
The fast processing of the Eargo device allows noise reduction to happen even between words in a conversation. The Eargo 6 can make adjustments every 10-30 milliseconds to optimize your ability to hear speech no matter the environment.
- Automatic sound adjustment based on environment
All of the devices have at least four preset settings that you can manually change depending on the environment you are in. The Eargo 6 uses an algorithm to read the environment and then change settings depending on the situation.
The lack of a viable streaming feature for music in Eargo hearing aids could be a huge downside for many hearing aid wearers. The upside to the size of Eargo hearing aids is that they are so small that they are virtually imperceptible, the downside is that they are so small it is too difficult to get Bluetooth technology in them.
There are no traditional hearing aid accessories available with Eargo devices. The only accessories include ear petals, mic caps, charging cables, and a few cleaning tools.
Unique Perks and Features
Eargo hearing aids were designed to be invisible, so they are some of the smallest devices on the market. While this is great for comfort and aesthetics, it means that there is no real Bluetooth capability for your hearing aids and connectivity is only avialable in the app.
- Eargo Neo HiFi App
The HiFi app is available for just one hearing aid model, the Neo Hifi. This is a more simplistic app than the Eargo app but it does give you complete control over the volume, settings, and features of your Eargo Neo HiFi hearing aids.
- Eargo App
The Eargo app is great for personalization, control, and ease-of-use. Some of the features you get with the Eargo app include:
- Sound Match to completely personalize your hearing aids.
- A video archive to teach you more about your hearing aids.
- Customize your treble and bass settings for each setting.
- Direct connection to experts who can help you with your Eargo devices.
You can personalize your hearing aids with the Sound Match feature mentioned above. With Sound Match, you go through a series of questions and hearing preferences so that your listening experience is customized to your hearing needs.
Remote Phone App/Audiologist Consultation
You get lifetime remote support for your Eargo hearing aids. With the Eargo app you have direct access, but even with the Eargo Max you have access to hearing professionals for as long as you are using your hearing aids.
There are no specific tinnitus relief features in Eargo hearing aids. While they may provide some relief by masking the effects of tinnitus, they do not specifically offer relief.
Because Eargo hearing aids are sold exclusively online, the prices are easy to find.
- Eargo Max: $1,450
- Eargo Neo HiFi: $1,950
- Eargo 5: $2,450
- Eargo 6: $2,950
- Does Medicare cover Eargo hearing aids?
Medicare does not cover Eargo hearing aids. Hearing aids, to this point, have never been covered by Medicare regardless of how or where you buy them.
- Is Eargo a real hearing aid?
Eargo is one of the newer hearing aid brands on the market, and they are sold exclusively online, but yes, they are “real hearing aids.” They were designed by an ENT and are exempt medical devices that have been approved by the FDA.
- Is Eargo a hearing aid or hearing amplifier?
Eargo hearing aids are not simply hearing amplifiers though one of the major jobs of every hearing aid is to amplify sound. A hearing amplifier is an uncomplicated device that simply increases the volume of every sound that it picks up and sends that amplified sound to your ears. Eargo hearing aids do far more in terms of directionality, speech clarity, processing, etc. so they are more than simple hearing amplifiers.
- What is the life expectancy of Eargo hearing aids?
According to the Eargo website, the life expectancy of Eargo hearing aids is three years after which point they suggest purchasing a new device.
- Are Eargo hearing aids batteries replaceable?
All Eargo hearing aids come with rechargeable batteries. If your battery gives out before the device but after the warranty, you cannot purchase a new battery but you must purchase a replacement hearing aid.
Eargo hearing aids proclaim to be “self fitting” and are built for invisibility, convenience, and value. For people who need hearing aids but refuse to go to an audiologist for optimal results, Eargo is an option. You can do your hearing test online, make your purchase without a visit to a doctor, personalize your settings with a test on the app, and “self fit” your hearing aids with the petal design. The ideal situation to purchase hearing aids is to find an audiologist who will walk with you through the entire process. Hearing loss affects everyone differently, and the solution is different for different people. While we would suggest using an audiologist for any type of hearing problem that you have, Eargo hearing aids offer some of the benefits of a traditional hearing aid and may work if your hearing loss is mild enough.