Sennheiser, a well-known consumer product brand, is launching a new product called the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds. While not currently FDA-approved as over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, the next generation of these devices is expected to receive such approval.
The Conversation Clear Plus earbuds boast features such as advanced speech enhancement, active noise cancellation, and a broad frequency range, making them an innovative option for individuals who struggle to hear in noisy environments.
Additionally, Sonova, Sennheiser’s parent company and the leading manufacturer of professionally fit hearing aids under the brands of Phonak and Unitron, has investor presentations that state they will be releasing OTC hearing aids. This makes the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds a potential game-changer in the hearing technology industry and thus something to keep an eye on.
Current Features of the Conversation Clear Plus Earbuds
The Conversation Clear Plus earbuds come packed with features that make them a versatile and effective solution for individuals who struggle to hear in noisy environments. Here are some of the key features of these earbuds:
- Advanced speech enhancement: The earbuds feature directional microphones that can change their pickup pattern from omnidirectional to directional beam forming, which allows for advanced speech enhancement.
- Active noise cancellation: The earbuds come equipped with active noise cancellation that reduces outside noise to a comfortable level, making them useful in the office or other distracting environments.
- Ambient awareness: The earbuds also have an ambient awareness feature that allows you to adjust how much external sound you want to hear, giving you greater control over your listening environment.
- Broad frequency range: With a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, the earbuds provide premium sound quality that can help you hear more clearly and enjoy your music or phone calls.
- Rechargeable battery: The earbuds have a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts for up to nine hours, making them suitable for situational use. However, it’s worth noting that most rechargeable OTC hearing aids have a minimum of 16 hours of battery life.
- Three listening programs: The earbuds have three listening programs that allow you to adjust the volume and features according to your hearing environment. The communication program focuses on speech understanding in noise, while the relaxed mode has noise cancellation. The streaming program allows you to adjust the volume of the music or phone call you’re streaming and the noise cancellation.
- User-friendly app: You can adjust the earbuds’ settings using the user-friendly Sennheiser app, which displays the battery status in the upper right corner. In the settings, you can see how the buttons on the earbuds are programmed for each program, including phone calls. The support page provides FAQs, and the profile page allows you to update sound profile settings.
Benefits of the Conversation Clear Plus Earbuds
The Conversation Clear Plus earbuds offer a range of benefits that can help individuals with hearing difficulties communicate more effectively and enjoy a better listening experience. Here are some of the key benefits of these earbuds:
- Clear speech understanding in noisy environments: The advanced speech enhancement and active noise cancellation features of the earbuds allow for clearer speech understanding in noisy environments such as family gatherings, conversations with friends, or in an office.
- Reduced listening effort in conversations: By reducing the amount of background noise and enhancing speech, the earbuds can help reduce the listening effort required in conversations.
- Useful for office or other distracting environments: The active noise cancellation feature is particularly useful in the office or other distracting environments, where it can help improve focus and concentration.
- Premium sound quality: With a broad frequency range and advanced sound processing technology, the earbuds provide premium sound quality that can enhance the listening experience.
Limitations of the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds
While the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds have many useful features, there are also some limitations to consider. First, they are not intended for all-day use like a traditional hearing aid. Instead, they are designed for situational use in noisy environments.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds are not FDA-approved as hearing aids. While they do have advanced speech enhancement and noise cancellation features, they are classified as consumer electronic products, not a medical devices.
Finally, the cost of the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds may be a barrier for some users. At $850 per pair, they are as expensive as other FDA-approved OTC hearing aid options on the market.
Future Developments and Expectations
As someone who has been working in the audiology field for many years, I am excited to see what the future holds for hearing technology. The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus earbuds are a great step forward in the development of more pros than cons with OTC hearing aids, but there is still room for improvement.
One feature that I hope to see in the next product release is insitu audiometry. This would allow users to test and set up their hearing aids based on their individual hearing loss, providing a more personalized and effective hearing solution. With the backing of Sonova, the leading manufacturer of professionally fit hearing aids, I have high hopes that this feature will be included in future products.
By including insitu audiometry, the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds could truly revolutionize the hearing aid market. Not only would they provide a more customized experience for users, but they would also bridge the gap between consumer electronics and medical devices.
Overall, I believe that the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds are a great starting point for what is sure to be a rapidly evolving market. As technology continues to advance, we can look forward to even more innovative and effective hearing solutions from Sennheiser and Sonova.
The Conversation Clear Plus earbuds from Sennheiser offer many features to help users communicate more clearly in noisy environments. With advanced speech enhancement, active noise cancellation, and a user-friendly app, these earbuds provide a premium listening experience.
While there are limitations to consider, such as their cost and situational use, the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds have the potential to be the next generation of OTC hearing aids. With Sonova’s acquisition of Sennheiser and plans to release OTC hearing aids in the future, we may see even more advanced and accessible options for those with hearing loss.
In conclusion, the Conversation Clear Plus earbuds are a promising development in the field of hearing technology but I would not purchase them yet. If you are looking for the best OTC currently available, I would recommend the Lexie B2 Powered by Bose.
I look forward to seeing how they and other OTC hearing aid options evolve in the years to come.
- Sennheiser website: https://www.sennheiser-hearing.com/en-US/p/conversation-clear-plus/
- Sonova investor presentation: https://www.sonova.com/en/investors/presentations
- “Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids: A Review of the Literature” by Jennifer A. Deal and Elizabeth R. Skidmore: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7177168/