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Eargo is a newer hearing aid brand. Their devices were designed by an ear, nose, and throat surgeon, for people with mild to moderate hearing loss in the high frequency range.
Eargo’s three hearing aid models are sold directly to the consumer and are described as self-fitting. You don’t need a visit to an audiologist or provide a prescription to purchase Eargo hearing aids.
The company aims to serve people with hearing loss who have avoided getting a hearing aid because they think it’s unsightly, makes them look old, or because they can’t afford it. Eargo hearing aids are about half the cost of some of their competitors.
Here, we’ll look at the three Eargo models, how they work, and some pros and cons.
Eargo has many advantages for those with mild or moderate hearing loss.
Eargo, founded in late 2012, was featured by Time magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2018. As of June 2020, Eargo reported that they had sold 42,000 hearing aids.
Funded by venture capital, the California-based company went public on NASDAQ in October 2020.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified Eargo hearing aids as medical devices, and some insurance policies cover their cost.
Eargo was modeled after a fishing fly, with patented soft medical-grade silicone fibers (Flexi Fibers or Flexis) that hold it in place, and “floating” in your ear canal. There’s a tiny, transparent fiber that enables you to pull out the hearing aid.
The Flexi Fibers come in two sizes, to fit most ears. The flexible design allows natural air circulation in your ear.
Eargo amplifies only specific sound frequencies to compensate for mild to moderate hearing loss. The hearing aids enhance high frequencies so you can hear speech clearly, and simultaneously reduce background noise. Low frequencies are able to enter your ear naturally.
Hearing amplifier devices or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), in comparison, amplify all sounds, or make everything louder.
With four settings in all, you can personalize your setting profiles for phone, TV, outdoor, or group situations. To go from one setting to the next, tap your ear twice. The hearing aid will tell you which setting you’re on. The Neo HiFi model can also be controlled via a smartphone app.
Eargo hearing aids amplify sounds that are in front of you, compared with behind-the-ear models that can amplify sounds coming from behind you.
Hearing aids come in a kit that includes:
- left and right hearing aids
- charger with a USB cord
- cleaning cloth and brush
- extra Flexi TetraPalms (two large and six regular)
- extra wax guards and wax guard changing tool
- small portable container
- user manual
The Eargo website has a series of short videos that explain and demonstrate the following:
- how to insert and remove the hearing aids
- how to clean them
- how to program the settings
- how to change the Flexis and ear guards
Eargo hearing aids are designed to be taken out and charged overnight in the portable charger. They charge fully in 6 hours and give about 16 hours of use.
The box has LED lights inside to help you see where to place the hearing aids.
On an ongoing basis, the hearing aids need to be brushed and wiped clean with the included brush and microfiber cloth before charging.
The tiny internal wax guard needs to be changed every 3 to 6 months, depending on wax buildup. A small tool is provided for this.
The Flexis need to be changed every 3 months.
The charger can be left unplugged from the USB cord, but it needs to be fully recharged weekly.
It may take some time for you to get fully used to your hearing aids. Eargo notes, for example, that your ear may feel itchy at first.
You also may have to get used to hearing your own voice, which can take a week or so.
Initially, Eargo advises that you start at lower settings, as soft sounds may sound too loud until your brain adjusts to distinguishing background noise.
Eargo notes that after a few weeks, you should find it easier to hold a conversation, even in a noisy background situation.
If you need help at any time in the process, you can call Eargo and speak with a certified hearing professional.
Eargo sells three hearing aid models that vary in price and features:
- Neo HiFi
All have the same basic features, but later models have added improvements.
Eargo also sells replacement Flexi TetraPalms, Fibers, and Domes, and wax guard replacement tools.
- Dimensions: 9.4 millimeters (mm) in height, 18.4 mm in length, and 6.8 mm in width
- Weight: 1.1 grams
Max, Eargo’s first model, costs just under $2,000. It has all the basic Eargo features, including remembering your preferred sound profile.
- Dimensions: 6.8 mm in height, 19.3 mm in length, and 12 mm in width
- Weight: 1.2 grams
The Neo model costs about $500 more than the Max and comes with design upgrades. It has:
- better acoustics in higher frequencies
- improved feedback performance
- redesigned Flexi Palms
- cloud connection
- faster charging
The Neo hearing aids are also controllable through a mobile app.
Eargo Neo HiFi
- Dimensions: 6.8 mm in height, 19.3 mm in length, and 12 mm in width
- Weight: 1.2 grams
The most recent model, Neo HiFi, costs about $900 more than the Max.
Its upgrades include:
- wind noise reduction for better outdoor hearing
- a fourth layer of ultra soft Flexis for a better fit
- 2-year warranty
- mobile app to adjust your settings for different listening environments and to activate your programs
- ability to share reports with Eargo’s professionals to help you customize your hearing aids
Hearing aids are an investment. While Eargo hearing aids aren’t inexpensive, they’re about half the price of some other hearing aids on the market. Eargo prices range from $1,850 to just under $3,000.
Eargo does have a 20 percent discount for military personnel, nurses, doctors, or first responders.
These hearing aids are available directly from Eargo by phone or online, or via Amazon. They’re also sold at a very small number of stores.
Monthly financing plans are available from Eargo, starting at $86 per month.
Eargo’s Max and Neo have a 1-year warranty, while Neo HiFi has a 2-year warranty. The warranty covers unlimited repairs and one-time loss or damage per hearing aid.
For federal employees with FEHB, Eargo hearing aids are completely covered. Some other insurance providers that may have hearing aid coverage include:
- some Medicare Advantage plans
- Government Employees Health Association
- Federal Employee Program Blue Cross
Eargo advises that you check with your insurance company before making a purchase.
You can return your Eargo hearing aids within 45 days for a full refund, but note that a couple phone calls will probably be involved.
Learn more about Eargo’s return policies from their help center.
Return policies of retailers who sell Eargo hearing aids may differ. Check the store’s policy.
Eargo customer reviews are mostly very positive. Customers report that they hear much better and that the devices are comfortable, easy to use, and virtually invisible. Reviewers also give high marks for the service, including the technical support.
Customers also note that Eargo hearing aids were comfortable while wearing glasses and a face mask.
Complaints vary. Some people find the Eargo hearing aids to be uncomfortable. Some say they malfunctioned quickly, and others had difficulty getting a refund or reaching customer service.
Notably, Eargo replied to complaints made on some websites, such as ConsumerAffairs, and offered solutions.
On Amazon, Eargo has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars, with 47 percent of reviews giving Eargo 5 stars. On Consumer Affairs, Eargo has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars. Retirement Living gives it an overall rating of nearly 5 stars.
Eargo’s website has more reviews than other sites, with an average of more than 4 stars.
The company also has a Better Business Bureau rating of A-.
Eargo’s website is a good place to start to get an overview of the hearing aids and how they work. The website has many short videos with details about the use and maintenance of the hearing aid.
Eargo offers a free hearing check and evaluation of your lifestyle to help determine if Eargo will work for you.
You can ask for a sample device to see how the Eargo models fit in your ear. The sample device isn’t a working model.
You can call Eargo to ask questions. The company also offers an online Zoom hearing auditory screening with a trained professional to help you select the best product for you.
Eargo offers this consulting service with an auditory professional free for the lifetime of your hearing aids.
Eargo is a new, fast-growing company with an innovative product that the company is continuing to improve.
If your hearing is impaired and you’ve avoided buying a hearing aid because of its cost or look, Eargo may be a good option for you.