Bose Hearing Aids: Release Date, Price, Benefits & Alternative
Published On 11 Mar 2021
As specialized medical equipment, the hearing aid market isn’t exactly rife with new competition. A mere six manufacturers account for a whopping 98% of market share for hearing impairment devices.
Needless to say, when a new player enters the arena, that’s important news for anyone dealing with hearing loss. The news is even more significant when the new manufacturer entering the market is an audio heavyweight like Bose. With the wearable hearing aid market poised to reach $10B by 2023, it’s no wonder why Bose is throwing their hat into the ring.
Bose first entered the hearing impairment market in 2016 with the development of their popular Bose Hearphones product:
- This over-the-counter hearing assistant offers impressive audio quality and performance at a price significantly lower than most dedicated hearing aids, and the typical Bose Hearphones review is resoundingly positive.
- However, the Bose Hearphones lack many of the most important features for people dealing with severe hearing loss.
- So those in need of a more comprehensive solution to their hearing loss have been patiently waiting for the latest Bose hearing aids, which have been in the works since early 2018.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at everything you need to know about these innovative new hearing aids from Bose.
From their release date and price to features, benefits, and alternatives, we have all the pressing information you’re eager to know.
Bose Hearing Aid and WonderEar Compared
Image Source: bose.com
Bose Hearphones vs. Bose SoundControl: What’s the difference?
Put simply, the Bose Hearphones is considered a hearing amplifier while the Bose SoundControl is a dedicated hearing aid. What does that mean?
Hearing aids and hearing amplifiers are both tools that help to increase the volume of sound. However, there is an important distinction:
- Hearing amplifiers are for people with normal or below-average hearing and for recreational purposes, such as listening to music.
- Hearing aids, by contrast, help people who suffer from mild to severe hearing loss hear nearly as well as without hearing impairment.
What the Bose SoundControl can do
The Bose SoundControl is the first hearing aid marketed by Bose Health, a new company division aiming to tackle problems including hearing loss and difficulty sleeping.
Now that the product is on the market, authentic reviews are available. Also, Bose's sales page for the product sheds a bit more light. Here are the key points from the website:
- Bose SoundControl is a wireless air-conduction hearing aid for adults ages 18 or older who suffer from a mild to moderate hearing impairment.
- The hearing aid is user-fitted, and the wearer shouldn’t need any professional assistance setting up their new device.
- The device offers wireless Bluetooth controls, and users can receive phone calls and listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks with it.
- Users can optimize the hearing device using the Bose Hear smartphone app; or with the analog controls located on the device itself.
- Users can configure a variety of settings to improve performance. There is a full suite of different dynamic modes, noise-canceling, feedback canceling, and more.
How does the price compare?
When the older Bose Hearphones first came to market, they did so with a $499 price point, which is thought of as the bare-minimum entry point for the Bose hearing aid price. Considering the Bose SoundControl includes features and advancements that the Hearphones didn’t have, it makes sense that the Bose SoundControl hearing aids cost more than $499.
That the price turned out to be a whopping $849.95 might be a surprise, though. What's more problematic is the FDA guidelines for OTC hearing aids aren't available yet and won't be for another year. There's no way to know if Bose SoundControl will meet those new regulations yet.
Bose SoundControl benefits
Even more important than the price or release date of the product are the features it possesses. Now that these are on the market, there are more questions, such as, will they be a worthy investment? The features listed below may help provide some answers.
- Active Noise Canceling - Reduces environmental noise while decreasing amplification of the wearer’s voice.
- Feedback Canceling - Eliminates painful and annoying feedback when the wearable is in range of another electronic device, such as another person wearing a hearing aid.
- Mobile Application - Bose Hear app is compatible with iOS and Android devices and allows users to control their hearing aid from their mobile device fully.
- Full Suite of Audio Controls - Controls for world volume, master volume, directionality, impulse noise control, balance, and more allow the wearer to customize their audio experience fully.
- Impressive Battery Life - Rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 56 hours of continuous use before charging is required.
- Bluetooth - Bluetooth compatible with two microphones per side, so users can also use their hearing aids to stream music, accept phone calls, and much more.
Bose SoundControl FDA approval
Bose filed an application in May 2018, which was fast-tracked through the FDA’s De Novo regulatory pathway and approved for use in October 2018. The so-called "De Novo" process allows manufacturers with a novel product to get their goods to the market faster, with less red tape. Two years later, they're available to the public.
Bose SoundControl features a unique self-fitting feature that doesn't require access to a professional for fittings, making it an easy and affordable solution.
Image Source: bose.com
Bose SoundControl alternatives
Bose’s wearable potentially is a viable option for anyone suffering from hearing loss or impairment. But the problem, in our opinion, is the price of $849.94 which we think should result in a hearing aid with better features.
And unsurprisingly, we hold that our very own WonderEar hearing aids give you very good quality and premium features at a hard-to-beat price.
Our WonderWave hearing aids, for example, offer a winning blend of premium features at an affordable price point. Just like the Bose hearing aids, the WonderWave offer:
- Smart noise cancellation and feedback control, digital sound processing for improved sound quality, and dual microphones, just like the Bose hearing aids.
The WonderWave also possess other unique features you won’t find elsewhere, such as:
- Adaptive technology which automatically changes sound modes based on your environment. For example, users can choose from four pre-set environmental settings to suit various noise levels.
- A tinnitus masker feature which also helps to mitigate unpleasant ringing in the ears.
- A telecoil loop which is a small copper wire in WonderWave that helps you hear more clearly in certain areas such as churches or meeting rooms by automatically amplifying some of the sounds it receives.
WonderWave is also a few hundred dollars less than Bose SoundControl, is recommended for severe hearing loss, and is fully rechargeable.
Another viable alternative to Bose are our WonderPro hearing aids. The WonderTec are quite similar to the WonderWave hearing aids – except for the adaptive technology and the tinnitus masker features – but they aren’t rechargeable.
This might be a con for some people, but others actually appreciate not having to be close to a charger all day. So with the WonderPro you can simply take your hearing aid batteries with you and rest assured that your hearing aid won’t run out of power.
Also, the WonderPro comes in at $250 cheaper than the WonderWave, making it a great runner-up. We think that the telecoil feature especially makes for very good value at this price.
The WonderMax are another smart alternative to the new Bose device, especially for people looking for “completely in the canal” (CIC) hearing aids as opposed to “behind the ear” (BTE) models. The WonderMax hearing aids boasts features like:
- improved noise reduction
- smart feedback cancelling
- digital sound processing
- three different environment modes.
These WonderEar hearing aids and every other model in their product line are virtually undetectable, Designed & engineered in the United States, and include lifetime technical support. Each product is designed in collaboration with ENT doctors, hearing aid and sound specialists, and audiologists.
As a result, WonderEar hearing aids are among the easiest to use and most comfortable wearables on the market. They’re also ideal for wearing with masks or glasses.
Image Source: bose.com
Self Fitting Hearing Aids vs. Over the Counter Hearing Aids
Many consumers are confused when they hear the term “self-fitting hearing aid.” What separates a self-fitting hearing aid from an over-the-counter one? Read on as we cover the differences.
Self Fitting Hearing Aids
Self-fitting hearing aids are subject to the same regulations and restrictions as other prescribed headphones. To purchase self-fitting hearing aids, you’ll need a prescription from your audiologist.
Unlike other prescribed hearing devices, designers create self-fitting hearing aids so that the wearer can optimally set up their new hearing device and customize it to their needs without a professional's help. From fitting the device in their ear properly to set the output, noise-canceling, and other features, users should have no trouble getting their new hearing aids optimally set up.
Over the Counter Hearing Aids
Unlike self-fitting hearing aids, which are prescribed by an audiologist, over the counter hearing aids can be purchased by anyone who wants them without the need to consult a medical professional.
OTC hearing aids are also self-fitting and they can be purchased at your leisure without a prescription.
Finally, over the counter hearing aids are not only available from Bose but also at, for instance, Walmart.
In our view, Bose’s SoundControl is a solid hearing aid device that enables you to improve your hearing without even visiting an audiologist beforehand. We think, though, that for the price of the Bose SoundControl you can get functionality that helps improve your hearing even more. And unsurprisingly, we think that our own WonderMax and WonderPro devices do deliver that additional functionality at a price that's still lower than the Bose SoundControl.