Eargo 7: the tiny headphones you won’t need to take out to shower | Engadget

Eargo’s approach to hearing aids is more in line with tech brands like Apple and GoPro than its industry peers. While the hearing industry is busy trying to shed its scruffy medical product image, Eargo is releasing yearly models with ever-new features that break stereotypes as it goes. This year’s model, the Eargo 7, doesn’t offer a huge leap over its predecessors, but just like the last phone mentioned above or the rugged camera, it’s still the best model yet. But with continuous improvements comes a narrower focus on areas for improvement.

Most of these areas are minor software details. For example, the in-app listening test initially left me wondering if it had worked properly or not. On my first pass, not all the tones seemed to play (there is a “repeat” button and pressing it sometimes made the tone unmissable). On a second pass, after speaking with an Eargo representative, I had a more reliable experience, but it was enough to raise some questions about its effectiveness until I was told my results were as expected on both attempts.

After the first test, the app told me to put the earphones back in their case to update them with the new settings, at which point it remained stuck on “connecting” until I reset it.

To be clear, the above is the biggest wrinkle I’ve experienced with the Eargo 7, and if anything, it’s a testament to the entire experience. Another minor annoyance is that the charging case seems to go into a deep sleep state when it’s low on battery, meaning it won’t wake up the earbuds when you remove them, even if they have a charge. A quick connection to a power cord is all you need to fix, but if you were out and about at the time, you might be out of luck.

James Trew/Engadget

That aside, the experience from then on has been smooth sailing. Eargo is positioned as a more affordable option for “invisible” hearing aids aimed at people with mild to moderate hearing loss. At $2,650, it may seem expensive compared to other over-the-counter options, but most alternatives aren’t the tiny-in-the-channel (CIC) type. They also don’t always offer other quality-of-life features, like a fancy charging case, personalized hearing profiles, and other features you’d typically only find on mainstream models that your audiologist would provide.

The Eargo 7 adds a new, improved version of the company’s “Sound Adjust” program that adapts settings based on your environment; this is what you need to take the hearing test for. This iteration includes a new “clarity” option that focuses on the conversation. The new earbuds are also IPX7 rated, meaning you can wear them during a vigorous workout or even in the shower without worrying about damaging them. (They are not marketed as fully waterproof.)

Eargo’s other selling point is its ongoing customer support. The company urges new users to schedule a “welcome” call with one of their personal hearing professionals (PHP). There are a total of four ways to talk to a PHP depending on your needs (email, phone, chat, or video call). Scheduling a call is a trivial task in the app and is free of charge. It’s this combination of modern technology and enhanced user experience that puts Eargo in a rather unique place in the growing number of assistive hearing devices.

Of course, a well-thought-out app experience, slick tech, and good customer service are really important parts of the experience, but none of that matters if the hearing assistance isn’t up to scratch. For me, my one-sided hearing loss is certainly helped by the Eargo and there is very little response unless it completely covers the ear canal. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, these are effective, but as always, you should probably see your audiologist if you’re not sure what you need.

The Eargo 7 charger case open on a desk.

James Trew/Engadget

What I do appreciate is the way the sound assist doesn’t emphasize high-pitched noises like clinking keys or enthusiastic typing and the general lack of feedback, which is a common problem for devices this size. They definitely amplify sound adequately if I use both, but that comes with a slight annoyance from having increased hearing even in my “good” ear, which is a problem unique to unilateral hearing loss that obviously doesn’t apply to those with problems in both. sides

As before, the battery life is enough to use all day, and the charging case offers two full recharges. All-day wear is quite comfortable, but for me the first hour or two I’m definitely aware that I have something inside my ears before gradually adjusting. In general, the built-in rechargeable battery increases convenience, although it also carries a risk of degradation over time compared to using disposables.

In short, with the Eargo 7, the company once again proves that over-the-counter hearing aids don’t have to mean skimping on features and performance. But with the company’s “start-up” technology approach come some small challenges, like the app quirks I mentioned at the beginning. Fortunately, these are much easier to address and fix than poor hardware with inadequate performance, which isn’t an issue here.

All Engadget Recommended products are curated by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publication.

Source link

James D. Brown
James D. Brown
Articles: 8406