Sontro Hearing Aids have been designed to be sold over-the-counter, once the FDA’s regulations are finalized. The cost is $999.00. They connect via Bluetooth to the otoTune app, which administers a “clinically-validated” hearing test to identify the user’s hearing thresholds. The Sontro hearing aids are automatically programmed to the user’s hearing thresholds. Once the three-minute test is complete, users can adjust volume, listening modes, and use a sound equalizer directly on the otoTune app. They also have access to toggle switch options such as feedback cancellation and noise reduction.
When we initially received our Sontro devices, they turned on, but we were unable to connect to the otoTune app. Customer service was not able to effectively troubleshoot or resolve the connectivity issues via phone. They eventually agreed to replace the devices. The second set of devices paired immediately. The Bluetooth pairing process was simple; with the battery doors closed and the devices in proximity of the phone, all we had to do was click the “Connect” button on the app. Despite the Bluetooth connection, the devices are not able to stream phone calls or media at this time.
The 3-minute hearing test was accurate. There is a simple sound level meter that instructs the user to ensure the ambient noise is below a certain level prior to beginning the test. The user is then presented with two boxes on the screen: one on the left labeled “L” in blue, and one on the right labeled “R” in red. Tones are presented to the user and you click the corresponding L or R button. While the testing is somewhat intuitive for me as an audiologist, there are no testing instructions and the beeping begins quite loudly.
After the testing has been completed, the user is given the option to “program” the devices based on their thresholds. The “Control” page of the app is where users can adjust the volume using “dual control” (binaural VC adjustment) or “left only,” and “right only.” The description of the devices makes it sound like they will adapt to your listening environment and switch modes automatically, but this is not the case. The user must switch into a different listening mode via the app.
Sontro Hearing Aids are great “starter” devices. They are simple in design and concept, and the phone app is intuitive.
Sontro hearing aids are over-the-counter hearing aids created by Sound Wave Hearing, LLC in Oak Brook, Illinois that is designed to be self-fit through their otoTune™ app.
Things to Consider Before Buying
- Can purchase online. Monthly payment options available.
- Easy, intuitive hearing test through the app
- Intuitive bluetooth pairing through the app
- Feedback cancellation is noticeably effective
- Effective ambient noise reduction with toggle switch
- No streaming capabilities.
- No rechargeable options.
- First pair we received were not functional. Customer service was not able to resolve connectivity issues via phone. They eventually agreed to replace the devices. Second set of devices paired immediately.
- App re-connectivity was inconsistent after the app had been closed.
- Battery percentage via the app was inconsistent.
- No mention of wax guards.
- After initial programming, VC controls were not functioning on the right device.
- Cannot purchase a monaural device, must be purchased as a pair.
Features & Benefits (link a benefit to each feature)
Design/type of hearing aid (BTE/OTE/ITE/ITC/CIC/IIC/OTC/Invisible/Discreet/etc)
- Sontro hearing aids are receiver-in-the canal (RIC) style only. Colors: Beige or gray.
- The packaging includes a size 1S receiver. Measurement tool is provided, but if a different length receiver is needed you must contact customer support. 3 receiver sizes available (0,1 and 2). Unclear whether there are different power receivers.
- Comes with small, medium, and large open domes, as well as one size tulip, and one size power domes.
- Retention tails
- Wax guards noted on receivers, but no mention of replacements or how to replace them.
For what level of hearing loss (severe/profound/moderate/mild/single-sided)
- Mild to moderate hearing loss
- Note: Sontro hearing aids can only be fit as a pair. “Even though you may only have hearing loss in one ear, both Sontro Hearing Aids will need to be programmed at the same time to optimize your hearing assessment.”
Warranty – One year
Custom-fit options – No custom-fit options at this time
Battery: Size 312 disposable batteries only, but their website indicated that they are currently working to create rechargeable options in the future devices.
The otoTune app displays the battery percentage levels for the Left and Right Sontro Hearing Aids on the Devices page of the app. Battery life percentage via the app was inconsistent.
- Binaural volume control
- Monaural volume control
- Sound equalizer – bass, mids, treble
- Noise reduction on/off toggle switch
- Feedback cancellation on/off toggle switch
- Mode/program options
- Re-take hearing test and reprogram devices
- Quick push on toggle = volume adjustments
- Press and hold on toggle = program change
- Long press (7 seconds) on top button puts the device into wireless pairing mode
- Long press (7 seconds) on bottom button clears any previous wireless connections
Sound quality 16 channel WDRC
Directionality Uses directional microphones.
Adaptability Several different “modes” or programs to choose from, does not change automatically.
Noise cancellation Offered as a feature on the app.
- Automatic – Sound equalizer and settings adjustments are not available in automatic mode
There is no information on the app or website about the differences between programs. I was unable to perceive a difference.
The current generation of Sontro hearing aids do not offer streaming capabilities. According to the Sound Wave Hearing website, they are working on the next generation of Sontro Hearing Aids, and they expect that they will be able to include rechargeability and Bluetooth streaming capabilities in the future.
Is it upgradeable?
They list domes, wax guards, batteries, dryer, replacement receivers, hearing aid dryer, audiowipes and keychain battery holder as accessories, but there are no accessories like TV streamers or remote mic options.
AI Features (if applicable)
Unique Perks and Features
Bluetooth connectivity (iPhone/Android compatibility)
- Initial BT pairing to the app was fast and intuitive. Reconnecting to the app after it had been closed was glitchy.
- The otoTune app uses Bluetooth to pair with your phone and to complete the hearing test process within the app. The otoTune app will pair with both Android and Apple smartphones. Android versions 6.0 and iOS versions 11 and higher will pair with Sontro Hearing Aids.
Dedicated app/third party app
The otoTune™ app permits people to test their hearing at home for self-fitting Sontro Hearing Aids. Following a 3-minute otoTune hearing test, the patient can make adjustments to assure the Sontro Hearing Aids are correctly fit and provide the best amplification essential to enhance communication.
You must have the devices paired with the otoTune app to customize other settings such as the volume, listening mode, and equalizer.
Remote phone app/audiologist consultation
Tinnitus Relief – white noise generator/sound masking
Cost – $999.00 which includes 2 Sontro hearing aids,
Sontro Hearing Aids are great “starter” devices. They provide an opportunity to retain “Tested Not Treated” patients who are primarily concerned with cost vs. benefit. They are simple in design and concept, and the phone app is intuitive.