Hearing aids can be expensive devices, costing anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more. To address the need for affordable hearing support, Audien Hearing entered the market offering products for less than $100.
Technically, what Audien’s website refers to as “hearing aids” are not medical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because you don’t need a prescription from an audiologist to buy them, the FDA classifies them as
While the devices are affordable and easy to obtain, there are limits to their effectiveness, particularly for people with complicated or profound hearing loss. Online customer reviews present a mixed bag of satisfaction and frustration with the products and the company’s customer service.
Audien Hearing, or Audien, is one of several companies providing inexpensive hearing assistance. It’s important to know what you’re getting if you buy these devices and what’s realistic to expect in relation to managing your hearing loss.
If you or a loved one has hearing loss, it’s also worth knowing what may be causing it and what treatment options may be most appropriate.
Audien Hearing is a U.S. company that manufactures two types of relatively inexpensive hearing products and sells them online.
Audien says they can offer these solutions well below the average cost because they sell directly to the consumer and because there’s no involvement with an audiologist, who conducts a hearing exam and sells hearing aids to patients.
Audien Hearing sells personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), not hearing aids. PSAPs are not alternatives to hearing aids. Although hearing aids and PSAPs both amplify sound, they have different purposes.
Hearing aids are medical devices that are worn to improve hearing. They’re fitted to your individual hearing needs and prescribed by a licensed audiologist.
In contrast, PSAPs are not intended to address hearing loss. Rather, they’re designed to amplify sound for people with normal hearing.
Therefore Audien hearing aids may be a good option for people who:
- have mild or occasional hearing difficulty
- would like to improve their hearing in specific situations, such as watching TV
- want to try amplifying sound before deciding if they need hearing aids
- can’t afford medical hearing aids
- don’t have a medical condition that requires the use of a hearing aid
If you think you might have hearing loss, the first step is to see a licensed audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation. They can determine the type and severity of your hearing loss and recommend the best treatment options, which may include hearing aids or PSAPs.
One type of Audien hearing aid, the EV1, costs $89 per pair, plus tax and shipping. The EV3 costs $199 per pair. The two newer models, the Atom and Atom Pro cost $99 and $249, respectively.
Each set comes with a charging dock fitted with a USB port, a small cleaning brush, and a small screwdriver to adjust the volume on each hearing aid.
Both products come with a 1-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee, and online support is also available.
You can find simple sound amplifiers that fit in the ear for as little as $10 each, but they’re meant for people with mild hearing loss and who need a boost in volume to hear conversations or television.
Traditional hearing aids usually cost between $1,000 and $5,000, and are prescribed after a person has a formal hearing evaluation and receives a diagnosis of hearing loss.
Does Audien provide free trial periods?
Audien offers a 30-day trial period. If you’re not satisfied with the product and notify Audien within 30 days, you can receive a full refund.
Can you use insurance to buy Audien hearing aids?
Coverage for Audien hearing aids or other brands by private health insurers varies considerably from one provider to the next. For most hearing aids, you can expect to pay out of pocket. There are no financial assistance programs associated with Audien.
Some service clubs and other organizations provide hearing aid assistance for low income households.
Audien sells four types of PSAPs: EV1, EV3, Atom, and Atom Pro. All designs slip into the ear canal and are discreet.
The EV1 costs $89 for a pair and features 20 hours of sound per charge and four different earbud sizes for a better fit.
The EV3 sells for $199 and is smaller than the EV1. It’s rechargeable and has a 20-hour battery life. It’s sold as having “enhanced comfort” and better sound quality than the EV1. The EV3 also has a wireless charging option, which the EV1 doesn’t.
The Atom sells for $99 and is 22 percent smaller than the EV1. The tiny Atom has wireless charging like the EV3 and a 25 percent longer battery life, so around 25 hours. The company says the patented design provides all-day comfort. The company also says the Atom has superior sound quality thanks to the new Atom chip.
Audien Atom Pro
The Atom Pro sells for $249 and is Audien’s smallest and most powerful model. It has a longer battery life and comes with a portable charging case that provides up to 4 days worth of charge. You shouldn’t experience any feedback or whistling because of its enhanced sound processor, according to the company.
If you’re unsatisfied with Audien hearing aids and want a refund, the company says they’ll return your money if notified within 30 days. In the case of a defective product, Audien may try to troubleshoot the problem online or provide a replacement product.
The company promises a 1-year warranty. So, for example, if a hearing aid can no longer be charged, Audien pledges to replace it if contacted within the time covered by the warranty.
It’s important to note that Audien is listed in an Adverse Event Report that was filed with the FDA in June 2020. According to the report, the patient “said they were promised one day delivery, but still have not received the devices.”
Audien has an average customer rating of 3.99 out of 5 stars and 450 reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
Audien isn’t accredited by the BBB. In fact, in 2020, the BBB notified Audien to discontinue claims that their hearing aids contained the “same technology as $5,000 hearing aids.”
However, the company has increased their previously low BBB rating, and they currently have a B rating.
Some of the customer complaints concerned shipping or return problems, and most were resolved by Audien either through refunds or further explanations of the return and warranty policies.
Audien’s rating on Trustpilot is an average of 4 out of 5 stars and 370 customer reviews. The positive reviews mention how people who had difficulty keeping up with conversations had a much easier time with Audien hearing aids.
Most of the complaints on Trustpilot were concerned with refunds or the timeliness of customer service to complaints.
You can only buy Audien hearing aids online. The devices aren’t available in stores.
To buy a pair, go to the Audien website and select the type of hearing aid you want, add it to your cart, and check out as you would with any other online purchase. No test is required and no medical questions are asked.
Audien Hearing has some competition in their niche of the market. Here’s how they compare to brands that also sell hearing products online and don’t require a hearing test to purchase.
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If you have any signs of hearing loss you should make an appointment with your doctor or a licensed audiologist. These signs may include:
- being unable to follow conversations
- asking people to repeat things
- having trouble hearing on the phone
- thinking people are mumbling
- avoiding loud environments
- turning up the volume on the TV
If you have these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have hearing loss. But it’s a good idea to get your hearing checked just in case.
Some hearing loss symptoms are
- sudden hearing loss
- hearing that’s been getting worse over the past few days or weeks
- hearing loss along with other symptoms, such as pain or discharge from the ear
- episodes of severe dizziness (vertigo) with hearing loss
- feeling that something is in the ear
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away. Sudden hearing loss may be a sign of a medical emergency.
How long do Audien PSAPs last?
Audien hearing aids are a popular brand known for their quality and long-lasting performance. How long they last depends on several factors, including how often you use them, the environment where they’re used, how you care for them, and the model.
Keep in mind that all hearing aids need replacing approximately every 5 to 7 years, regardless of the brand.
Audien PSAPs are designed for long-term use. With proper care, they should last for several years.
What is the difference between hearing aids and an amplifier?
Hearing aids are medically regulated devices that require a prescription from an audiologist. They’re fitted to your individual hearing needs and can be used to treat various types of hearing loss.
In contrast, PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) are designed for people with normal hearing. They don’t require a prescription and amplify sound for MR or occupational purposes.
Audien hearing products are PSAPs, not hearing aids. They use advanced digital technology to amplify sound and improve clarity. However, they’re not intended to address hearing loss.
Does Audien ship internationally?
Yes, Audien ships internationally.
The shipping rates and transit times vary depending on your location. You can usually select either priority shipping or the faster, expedited option at checkout.
Hearing loss can present a collection of financial, social, and emotional challenges, so the desire to improve one’s hearing at an affordable price is understandable.
Audien Hearing says they offer a solution for many people who could benefit from sound amplification. But their devices aren’t for people who have hearing issues and require more sophisticated devices.
While the Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to be wary of buying hearing aids that include expensive and unnecessary features, it also says to be wary of companies offering inexpensive devices that make bold claims.
Before making an investment in a hearing aid, talk with your physician about your hearing loss. You may also want to have a more thorough evaluation by an otolaryngologist or audiologist so you know the nature of your hearing loss and your best options moving forward.