Hearing loss is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide, and while hearing aids have been around for a long time, they were expensive and often required professional fitting. However, with advancements in technology, Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids have become more readily available and affordable, allowing people with hearing loss to have more options for hearing assistance.
One such device is the Eargo 7 OTC hearing aid, which has been making waves in the market for its sleek design, comfortable fit, and advanced technology. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Eargo 7 OTC hearing aid, examining its features, benefits, and drawbacks from the perspective of an expert audiologist who has fit thousands of professionally fit hearing aids in the last decade.
We will also compare the Eargo 7 OTC hearing aid to other OTC devices and affordable professionally fit hearing aids, to give readers an idea of how the device stacks up against the competition.
While the Eargo 7 OTC hearing aid is a highly touted device, we will also acknowledge that it comes at a premium price point, making it more expensive than other OTC hearing aids. However, we will explore whether the advanced technology and features justify the higher cost and whether the Eargo 7 OTC hearing aid is worth the investment for those with hearing loss. It is important to note that the device is being released on March 13, 2023, and I do not have direct hands-on experience with the product yet.
Overview of Eargo and Eargo 7
Eargo is a California-based company that specializes in innovative hearing aids that are designed to be comfortable, affordable, and easy to use. Since its inception in 2010, Eargo has been committed to improving the quality of life for individuals with hearing loss by providing high-quality hearing aids that are accessible to everyone.
Eargo offers a range of hearing aids, including the Eargo Max, Eargo Neo, and Eargo Neo HiFi, but the Eargo 7 stands out as the most advanced and smallest OTC hearing aid from the company as it is the latest innovation.
Eargo 7 is designed to provide individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss with a comfortable and discreet hearing aid option. The device is made of medical-grade silicone and is inserted directly into the ear canal, eliminating the need for an over-the-ear component.
One of the most notable features of the Eargo 7 is its size. The device is incredibly small, making it virtually invisible when worn. This is a significant advantage for individuals who want a discreet hearing aid that won’t draw unwanted attention. However, This isn’t the most popular style, this style is in only 10% of hearing aids sold mainly due to occlusion. The most popular style hearing aid style is RICs, which Eargo does not make.
Additionally, the Eargo 7 is designed with advanced noise reduction technology that helps to filter out background noise and improve speech clarity. This is a feature that is a must for all hearing aids. I will be excited to try out how much noise reduction the Eargo 7 has.
Another feature of the Eargo 7 is its smart capabilities. The device is designed to learn the user’s preferences and automatically adjust the sound settings accordingly. This makes it easier for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy a range of activities, from watching TV to having conversations with loved ones.
It is worth noting that the Eargo 7 has been cleared by the FDA as a self-fitting hearing aid, which means that users can purchase the device without the need for a professional fitting. While this is an advantage for individuals who want to avoid the time and cost associated with a professional fitting, it is important to consider that professional fitting can provide a more personalized and effective hearing experience.
Overall, the Eargo 7 is an excellent option for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss who want a discreet, comfortable, and advanced hearing aid. While the device is more expensive than some other invisible OTC options and even affordable professional-fit hearing aids, it offers a range of features and capabilities that make it a worthwhile investment for individuals who want to improve their quality of life.
Design and features
The Eargo 7 is a discreet and stylish hearing aid designed to fit comfortably inside the ear canal. Its unique Flexi Fibers, made of soft medical-grade silicone, hug the shape of the ear canal, ensuring a snug fit and optimal sound quality. The device’s small size and low-profile design make it virtually invisible, making it a popular choice among those seeking a discreet hearing aid. This is a very unique design as no other company has anything that looks similar.
One of the most significant features of the Eargo 7 is its built-in lithium-ion battery. The battery’s lifespan can last for up to 16 hours of use, and it takes about 30 minutes to charge fully. Compared to other over-the-counter hearing aids, the Eargo 7 has one of the longest battery lives available, with a very short charge time.
One downside of the Eargo 7 is its lack of Bluetooth streaming. Users cannot stream audio directly from their smartphones or other devices, limiting its functionality compared to other OTC devices like the HP Hearing Pro. However, the device’s Eargo app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android, offers various features to help users personalize their listening experience.
The Eargo app allows users to set up the sound match process, which helps to customize the device’s sound to the user’s preferences. The app also provides basic controls to adjust volume and bass/treble levels. The sound match process is simple and easy to follow, and the app’s controls are user-friendly, making it easy for users to make adjustments on the go. I have had no issues with the app while using previous Eargo 6 products.
Another standout feature of the Eargo 7 is its IPX7 water resistance rating. This rating means that the device is resistant to moisture and can withstand being submerged in water up to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes. The gold standard with professionally fit hearing aids is an IP68 rating. Eargo is one step away from this. But the rating does mean that if you accidentally step into the shower with them in your ears that should be just fine.
Additionally, the Eargo 7 offers a Sound Adjust Plus feature, which helps to amplify sound in noisy environments, making it easier to hear conversations in loud places.
One unique aspect of Eargo’s customer experience is the availability of free dummy devices. You can order a free dummy device to get a sense of what it’s like to wear an Eargo device. While this is a helpful tool to see what it feels like, it’s important to note that you will not know what it sounds like.
Pricing and Purchasing
Eargo 7 can be purchased through the company’s website, as well as select online retailers and hearing centers. The price of the Eargo 7 is on the higher end compared to other OTC hearing aids, with a cost of $2,950 for a pair.
To help customers decide if Eargo 7 is right for them, the company offers a free non-working sample of the device, allowing users to get a feel for the fit and comfort of the device. Additionally, Eargo provides free customer support to all customers, ensuring that users are able to get the most out of their devices. It isn’t the same personalized care that you would get from a local audiology clinic with professionally fit devices but it is helpful if you are having issues.
Eargo’s return policy is consistent with industry standards, offering customers a 45-day trial period during which they can return the device for a full refund. The company also provides a one-year warranty for any defects in materials or workmanship.
Overall, Eargo 7 is a good choice for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss who are looking for a discreet and easy-to-use hearing aid. While the device is more expensive than other OTC hearing aids, the advanced features and sleek design make it a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize an invisible option and do not desire professional hearing aids.
What are Eargo hearing aids and how do they work?
Eargo hearing aids are a type of rechargeable OTC hearing aid designed to fit discreetly inside the ear canal. Unlike traditional hearing aids, which sit behind the ear, Eargo hearing aids use Flexi Fibers, soft and flexible silicone earpieces, to hold the device in place. The earpieces are available in multiple sizes to ensure a comfortable and secure fit for each individual.
Eargo hearing aids use a unique technology called Flexi Dome, which allows sounding to pass through the ear canal without obstruction, resulting in natural and clear sound quality. The hearing aids also have four sound profiles that can be adjusted with the Eargo app to match individual hearing preferences.
Eargo hearing aids use a rechargeable battery that can last up to 16 hours on a single charge. The charging case also serves as a storage case for hearing aids when they are not in use.
Eargo hearing aids are designed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. They are not suitable for people with severe or profound hearing loss. However, they may be suitable for people with conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness.
To determine if Eargo hearing aids are right for you, it is recommended that you take a hearing test and consult with an audiologist. Eargo offers a free hearing check on their website to help determine if their hearing aids are suitable for your hearing needs. However, a professional hearing test with an audiologist is my strong recommendation. They can also advise you if OTC or professionally fit aids will meet your needs better.
Can Eargo hearing aids be worn while exercising or engaging in other physical activities?
Yes, Eargo hearing aids can be worn while exercising or engaging in other physical activities. They are designed to stay in place during movement and activity, thanks to the Flexi Fibers that hold them in place. The charging case is also compact and portable, making it easy to take with you when traveling or on the go.
However, it’s important to note that excessive sweating or exposure to moisture can damage the hearing aids or cause them to malfunction. Eargo recommends avoiding exposure to water or excessive sweat and removing the hearing aids before swimming, showering, or engaging in water activities. If the aids do get wet, see what to do.
If you plan to wear Eargo hearing aids while exercising or engaging in physical activities, it’s important to take care of them and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid damage or malfunction.
How long do Eargo hearing aids last, and how often do they need to be replaced?
Eargo hearing aids are designed to last for several years with proper care and maintenance. The battery life for each hearing aid is approximately 16 hours, and the charging case can recharge the hearing aids several times before needing to be recharged itself.
It’s important to clean and maintain Eargo hearing aids regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Eargo provides a user guide and recommends cleaning the hearing aids daily with a soft, dry cloth. They also recommend replacing the Flexi Fibers every six months to maintain a secure fit and prevent damage to the hearing aids.
If you experience any issues with your Eargo hearing aids, such as reduced sound quality or difficulty charging, it’s important to contact customer support right away to troubleshoot the issue and determine if a replacement is necessary.
Can Eargo’s hearing aids be programmed or adjusted for individual hearing needs?
Yes, Eargo hearing aids can be programmed and adjusted for individual hearing needs. They come with four sound profiles that can be selected based on the user’s hearing needs and preferences, and they can be further customized with the Eargo mobile app.
The Eargo mobile app allows users to adjust the volume, treble, and bass of their hearing aids, as well as adjust the sound profile and access additional features like noise reduction and feedback cancellation. The app also includes a hearing test that can help users determine their hearing needs and adjust their hearing aids accordingly.
It’s important to note that while Eargo hearing aids can be adjusted and customized, they may not be suitable for all types of hearing loss. Individuals with severe or profound hearing loss may require more powerful hearing aids or a different type of hearing solution.
If you’re interested in Eargo hearing aids, you can buy online but I still stress that it’s important to consult with an audiologist to determine if they are the right fit for your individual hearing needs and preferences.
Are Eargo hearing aids compatible with smartphones and other devices?
Yes, Eargo hearing aids are compatible with smartphones as a remote control feature and to set up the aids. However they can’t be paired with Bluetooth-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers for streaming audio.
The Eargo mobile app also allows users to control their hearing aids from their smartphone, adjust the sound profile, and access additional features like noise reduction and feedback cancellation.
How comfortable are Eargo hearing aids to wear?
Eargo hearing aids are designed to be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The Flexi Fibers that hold the hearing aids in place are soft and flexible, and they are designed to fit snugly in the ear without causing discomfort or irritation.
The small size and discreet design of Eargo hearing aids also make them comfortable to wear in a variety of settings and situations. They are almost invisible when worn, which can be important for people who want their hearing aids to be discreet and unobtrusive.
It’s important to note that some individuals may require an adjustment period to get used to wearing hearing aids, especially if they have never worn them before. Eargo recommends gradually increasing the amount of time you wear the hearing aids each day until you can wear them comfortably for the full day.
If you experience any discomfort or irritation while wearing Eargo hearing aids, it’s important to contact customer support right away to troubleshoot the issue and determine if an adjustment or replacement is necessary.
What financing options are available for Eargo hearing aids?
Eargo offers several financing options to help make their hearing aids more affordable for individuals. They offer monthly payment plans with no money down and no interest, allowing individuals to pay for their hearing aids over time.
Eargo also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, which allows individuals to try their hearing aids and return them for a full refund if they are not satisfied with the product.
If you’re interested in Eargo hearing aids but are concerned about the cost, it’s important to explore other OTC hearing aids that may be ¼ of the cost.
What customer support and warranty options are available for Eargo hearing aids?
Eargo offers a one-year limited warranty on their hearing aids, which covers defects in materials and workmanship. If any issues arise during the warranty period, Eargo will repair or replace the hearing aids free of charge.
Additionally, Eargo provides customer support through phone, email, and live chat. Their customer support team is available Monday through Friday from 8am to 9pm EST and on Saturdays from 9am to 6pm EST. They can help troubleshoot issues with the hearing aids, provide guidance on how to use them, and answer any questions or concerns.
Eargo also offers a personalized hearing coach program, which provides one-on-one coaching to help individuals get the most out of their hearing aids. The program includes regular check-ins with a hearing coach, customized tips and tricks, and additional resources to help individuals improve their hearing and overall quality of life.
My opinion remains that Eargo is very expensive and you would do better with other OTC hearing aid or professionally fit hearing aids that can be similar to the Eargo price.