Eargo 6 Review: The ONLY Eargo Hearing Aid Review you Need to Watch!
- Even this feature alone means that we finally have a direct to consumer device that is practically designed for the end user, unlike all of the other OTC or DTC products that are reviewed on this channel so far. (lively music) Hey guys, it's Matthew here from HearingTracker, keeping you up to date with all new hearing aid technology. Today, I'll be covering the exciting, new Eargo 6 hearing devices. And whether I think that it's something that you should consider investing in to manage your hearing loss.
Be sure to stick around right until the end so that you can see how you can get your hands on a free sample product. If you are keen on keeping up to date with the latest news in the hearing technology world, then make sure that you subscribe to this channel, hit that gray notifications bell, and you'll be updated every time I release a new video. The Eargo 6 has come in at $2,950 and include two hearing devices and a charger and a direct to consumer. When I say direct to consumer, I mean that there's technically no need to see an audiologist and you can buy them directly from Eargo and fit them yourself using the Eargo app, which I will cover in great detail later on in this review.
Eargo released their Eargo 6 in January, 2022 in the US. And the kit comes with two years worth of warranty and a lifetime of customer support. And I've been testing them out over the last couple of months so that I could put all of my thoughts down in one place and also whether or not I think that it's worth that price tag.
But to start off with who are Eargo? As you know, here on Hearing Tracker, we like to cover all hearing tech, not just hearing aids coming from the big six international hearing aid manufacturers. Eargo were founded in 2010 by French ear and throat surgeon, Dr. Florent Michel, and his son, Rafael Michel. I hope I pronounced that correctly. In terms of tech Eargo are now on their fourth generation of hearing device which they started with the Max in 2018, Neo Hifi in 2020, Eargo 5 in 2021 and now we have the Eargo 6.
As the years have gone on, they've become more advanced in terms of tech, including improvements in background noise and robustness. And as a result have also increased in price. Let's first, take a look inside the box and see exactly what's included with the Eargo 6s. The box itself is something that you definitely cannot miss. As we open it up, the first thing that we have here is the charging case with the lighter rate on the front. This is the same charger that we saw with the Eargo 5, which stores, charges and programs the hearing devices.
The neat white lights on the front tell you about the charge that's held within each device corresponding to the relevant side. My first impressions are that I really like the quality, solid feel of this disc shaped charger here. It has its own built in lithium ion battery so that you can charge on the go similarly to a set of AirPods, an Eargo state that with a consistent daily use, the charger will need to be recharged roughly every three days.
This is done using a USBC cable on the bottom of the unit, which when plugged in, has a hypnotic glowing LED surrounding the socket that pulses along with the other LEDs when it's charging. The LEDs on the front light up when the lid is removed to let you know how charged the individual devices are. One steady light, and one pulsing light indicates 25% of charge, two lights, 50%, three lights, 75. And when the devices are fully charged, four steady lights will appear.
If you see four red lights on the unit, something's not quite right and you need to remove and reinsert the devices. A single charge will last you for around 16 hours. Yeah, you heard me correctly, 16 hours. You have no idea how excited this makes me feel.
Even this feature alone means that we finally have a direct to consumer device that is practically designed for the end user, unlike all of the other OTC or DTC products that I've reviewed on this channel so far. The sole reason that I say that is because I recently reviewed the Jabra Enhance Plus hearing aids and the Olive Union Pros, which respectively have a battery life of 10 and seven hours per charge. So I personally feel that even if they were the best hearing aids in the world, so what? If they don't last a full day then in my eyes, they're pretty much useless.
With Eargo boasting 16 hours of life, this already brings the Eargo 6s closer to the traditional hearing aid manufacturers in terms of functionality and practicality. And you know what? I haven't even started getting my teeth into the good stuff yet. Without getting you too excited though, the extended battery life does come at a cost, which is a lack of Bluetooth streaming that you do get with the likes of the Jabra Enhance Pluses and Olive Union Pro. I'll cover this in more detail later on in the video, when I run through all of the individual features that the Eargo 6s have.
The lithium ion batteries, which use the same battery technology used in traditional hearing aids will only last for around 1,000 cycles in the Eargo 6s, which in total is around about three years. After that Eargo can't guarantee the life of the batteries, which potentially means that after those three years they'll need charging midway through the day. And unfortunately the batteries themselves can't be replaced. So once they're dead, you'd actually have to buy a whole new setup.
So a couple of things that I like that really do make life easier for you. When you put the Eargos into the charger, they automatically turn off. And when they come out of the charger, they also automatically turn on. There's a robotic voice upon startup, which lets you know exactly who they're programmed for and greets you when they're first inserted into your ears. In the rest of the box, there's a neatly coiled USB charging cable, cleaning cloth, cleaning tool, and quick start guide, which I will say is very intuitive and simple to follow. We also have the power adapter and some neatly packaged microphone caps and petals which are the rubber tips that go onto the end of the Eargo 6s.
The devices themselves come with medium open petals attached and Eargo have also included two medium and two large spares of both the open and closed styles of petals. These petals are actually pretty important and getting the tip right can make a huge difference to the quality of the sound and the effectiveness of these devices. If you fit too loosely, then you're likely to get feedback and a whistling hearing aid. If it's too tight, then you'll suffer with what we call the occlusion effect, which is the feeling that you've got your fingers stuck in your ears. Your hearing loss actually plays a huge part in determining the most appropriate style of tip for you. And one of the concerns that I have with all of the OTC or DTC companies out there is that they don't seem to really cover that in any of their literature.
And to me, it always comes across like the tips are solely designed from a comfort perspective, which is definitely not the case at all. Now let's take a look at the good stuff and look at the Eargo 6 devices themselves. Lifting them from the case, you can feel the resistance from the magnet which pulls them into the inductive charging unit. They weigh next to nothing, which is essential from a comfort point of view if they're to be sitting in your ears for 16 hours at a time.
working our way from the back of the device, we have the device removal thread, which is a pull cord to enable you to extract the Eargo 6 from your ear canal once it's in with a bubble on the end to allow you to grab it nice and easily as we see with traditional invisible, in-canal hearing aids. We then come to the replaceable mic cap. This protects the microphone itself and is used to clean the sound inlet.
It comes off nice and easily for when it's time to be replaced. Here, we have the petals on the tip that we were discussing earlier, and the devices themselves are labeled left and right. Looking at the physical makeup of the devices, there's no physical difference between the left and the right. However, once their program specifically for your hearing loss in one ear, you really want to make sure that you are inserting each device into the correct ear. For a visual reference on size, I've got a few different pieces of traditional hearing aid technology to compare them with.
So on the left, you can see the Jabra Enhance Plus earbuds. Here's an invisible, in-canal custom-made hearing aid, a generic modular hearing aid by Signia called Silk, plus finally, the Phonak Lyric, which is a hearing aid that's inserted into the ear canal under microscope and sits four millimeters from the eardrum. As a comparison, you really can see that the Eargo 6 is pretty small here, inserting it into the ear is really easy.
And once they're in, I'm impressed with how hidden they are. If you take a good look here with it in, you can just about see the removal cord, but not much else. So if discretion is something that you're really keen on, then these could potentially be a good option for you.
Just to compare, here's a shot of my ear with a traditional invisible in the ear hearing aid inserted. This one is the Phonak Paradise Titanium that's just been released. And here's another shot of me with the Phonak Lyric in my ear. The device itself is relatively comfortable, which is definitely helped by the soft petals on the end.
However, I wouldn't want it to be any larger as with my jaw movement, I can feel the body of the device rubbing against my ear canal wall when it's in my ear for any extended period of time. Physically, they're not designed for everybody though. Using my father as an example, they don't completely fit down his ear canals, and I wouldn't say that his ears are particularly small as I can fit all of the other hearing aids that I showed you earlier down his ear canals. So they're not going to work for everybody.
Pairing the Eargos was easy and done by simply taking out the devices from the charging case and reinserting them. It did take a good two minutes for the charger to connect to the phone via Bluetooth. With me having to check a few times that I'd not done something wrong. Eargo allows the user to perform a hearing test using the devices themselves and they call the process sound match. This process is designed to replace the traditional pure tone audiogram performed in a clinic by your audiologist to measure your degree of hearing loss, specifically for each ear.
Normally in clinic, we will perform at least an eight point audiogram to assess someone's hearing using both air and bow conduction. So there's no real comparison to a full audiological assessment. However, I do prefer the setup to the likes of the Bose SoundControl setup process which doesn't involve an assessment at all.
I think, but I'm not too sure really, which kind of says it all that I was tested on four different frequencies. Warble tones were presented and I had to press yes or no as to whether or not I heard the sound. Well, the confusing thing was that I didn't hear too many at all.
And I'm pretty sure that I should have done. The thing that really stunned me afterwards was a warning saying that based on my sound match results, I should speak with an Eargo hearing professional, which, yes, I think is a great feature for those that perform the test and present with any degree of hearing loss. I'm not quite sure, however, on the criteria for that message to appear, and if it appears for all hearing levels or if it's just those that are more severe in nature. The app then revealed what I assume were my results. And here we are again with what I think is now the fourth direct to consumer device, including the Jabra Enhance Pluses, Olive Union Pros, and even apple AirPods pro, where the results were kind of just disappointing. So in the interests of research, here are the results from a recent audiogram that I've had done.
And anything above 20 decibels is considered to be within normal limits. Here on the other hand, are my results from the Eargo 6s. As you can see today, I have suddenly developed a moderate hearing loss in the left ear and a severe hearing loss in the right. Now being an audiologist, I would love to think that I know what I'm doing. And of course, I know that I don't have a moderate or a severe hearing loss in either ear, but that's because I've already had an audiogram performed by an audiologist. If however, I was a normal person buying these online, then I may well think that I had this hearing loss and that I needed devices set to this level.
Of course I can only report back to you my findings and my experiences. Please drop me a note in the description to this video if you found that your results were more accurate than my hearing test results today. Alas, I went ahead and allowed the Eargos to be programmed to my newly acquired hearing loss only to find that they screeched and fed back to the point that my partner began complaining about the annoying whistling that she could hear from the room next door.
So that leads me onto another observation. And that is that if these devices are technically made to be able to deal with a moderate to severe hearing loss, they don't appear to be able to deal with that degree of amplification necessary to meet the demands of a hearing loss to that extent. Of course, going through the sound match process, you do need to make sure that the testing conditions are absolutely spot on and silent as this sets up the gain that the hearing devices are going to be adding to compensate for any degree of hearing loss that you may have. And if you test yourself in a noisy environment, it will give more gain than is necessary. And then we'll be over amplifying the world around you.
The app does warn you if conditions are too noisy and stops the testing, which is a great feature to have. Delving into the features, the Eargo 6s are specifically designed for those with a mild to moderate hearing loss. So if you've had your hearing assessed by an audiologist and your results fit within this fitting area, then they're technically suitable for you. If you haven't had the opportunity to go and see an audiologist, then you can head over to the Eargo website and you'll find their hearing screener, which allows you to assess your hearing and identify whether your hearing loss falls into the range suitable for the Eargo 6 devices.
Whilst I'm not a huge fan of online testing and their accuracy, as there are a few factors that can lead to inaccurate results, it's at least a very good starting point. Whilst there is a little bit of concern in the audiology world about what direct to consumer devices mean for the future of audiology and more specifically audiologists, I am personally super excited by this new wave of technology coming through, as long as it's done right. The NIDCD report that less than 30% of adults over 70 with a hearing loss have actually tried a hearing aid, which is a huge number. And my view is that if devices like these give easier access, remove the stigma associated with hearing loss and encourage more and more people to wear some form of hearing aid.
Then there's a huge potential for more people to look after their ears. There's one small issue that I do have with OTC devices though, and of course, that's because I think that the role of an audiologist is super important. Hear me out for a second. So these hearing aids are designed for people with a mild to moderate hearing loss.
Unless you've seen an audiologist, how do you know that you've got a mild to moderate permanent hearing loss? How do you know that you've not just got a temporary hearing loss and with a trip to the doctor, it could be remedied. And how do you know that it's not something even more sinister, such as a sudden onset sensor in neural hearing loss close the ooma otosclerosis, acoustic neuroma, otitis externa, otitis media, Glu, Meniere's disease, perforations, eustachian tube dysfunction, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, or anything that requires urgent intervention, such as this long list of ear diseases. How do you know that it's not even just ear wax? An online screener or hearing test via OTC or DTC device won't tell you any of this.
And in my opinion, that's where there is still a few obstacles that companies like this need to overcome. Now, once you're all set up, you are let loose on the app, which allows you to adjust the volume, mute the devices, and adjust the levels of background noise. Meaning that if you are in a noisy environment, you can adjust the devices to reduce the level of background noise around you. The Eargos provide you with confirmation beeps for the volume or a friendly voice in your ear, letting you know if you've selected the mute function or any of the preset programs, Eargo 6's sound adjust feature is new to Eargo 6 and is Eargo's first ever attempt to allow the devices to scan the environment, looking for the type of situation that the hearing aid user is in, and then make the most appropriate decision as to the setting that they should be on.
This is one step over and above the previous Eargo products as they've really been fully manual in the past. Now, for those of you that like to be in control of your hearing aids, it is still possible to manually switch over to a setting of your choice using both the app or the tap feature, which I'll cover later on. There are a range of different programs to choose from from normal, restaurant, TV, and music, all of which have been pre-installed by Eargo to be optimal for those specific acoustic environments.
Eargo really have thought of everything and a followed suit with most hearing aid manufacturers now by including a mask mode as well, designed to give you a clarity boost if somebody has stood in front of you talking to you with a face mask on. Once you head into those programs, you even have the facility to not only tweak the volume, but also what Eargo called sound tuning, which gives you access to the base and the trouble. We are seeing access to these features from more and more hearing aid manufacturers now, sadly, not all of them, but it really puts the hearing aid user in control of their hearing devices. As you all know, background noise can be a nightmare when it comes to hearing loss and is one of the biggest complaints that I have on a daily basis with new patients coming through my clinic doors.
Interwoven within the sound adjust feature, Eargo are boasting that their new devices are able to reduce loud background noise and noise between pauses and speech whilst leaving the speech energy unaffected. This should enable improved hearing in noisy environments such as restaurants, groups, or crowded environments. Now this does sound very promising and very exciting. However, there is only so much that can be done from an invisible hearing aid when it comes to noise reduction, I've dedicated a whole video on exactly this subject, not just talking about Eargo, but talking about invisible, in-canal, hearing aid devices in general and what you are missing out on in comparison to a receiver in the canal hearing aid, I will link that video in the description to today's video. It is commonly known that to achieve the best hearing in background noise, directionality is essential. And currently the only way that we can achieve that is with multiple microphones built into hearing devices, measuring the sound coming from the front versus the back, and then sending through the useful information to the user.
Unfortunately, directionality just isn't possible with a single mic setup like this. So if background noise is one of your main issues, then the Eargo 6s may not be the most appropriate for you. Whilst the shape of the ear itself does help to direct sound from in front and cut out sounds from behind, there is plenty of research out there showing that it's not effective as directional microphone technology.
The tap feature allows you to tap your ear and cycle through different programs set by the app. The manual itself comes with a range of ways in which you can make the tap control work from a single finger, double finger, up, down, left, right. It does all seem a little bit complicated. I found that the only way that I could get a response was to hit my ear canal with quite a bit of force, which was not the most discreet of actions when these hearing devices are really designed for discretion.
Not only that, but they fed back even more than before when my hand went near them to use the tap control. One thing I did like about the tap control was that again, the friendly voice in my ear told me which program I changed over to. I personally think that it would be a great idea going forward if Eargo could develop this feature further still to personalize the tap function, so that rather than it just switching between programs, it would also allow for other functions such as volume up, down, or muting the devices themselves. Eargo is stating that their 6s have an IPX7 water resistance rating, which technically means that they can sit in a meter and a half of water for 30 minutes and should still function afterwards. Now, before you get too excited, I'm not recommending that you go swimming wearing them.
However, it does tell us something about the robustness of these devices. As when they're in your ear all day long, it is a pretty harsh environment when it comes to wax and moisture. So I would look at this as more of an improvement when it comes to durability than anything else. Combining this with regular cleaning using the cleaning tool and changing the microphone cap, when is necessary, this should ensure a greater amount of longevity with your Eargo 6s. Now I did brush over rechargeability earlier on, and I think that it does deserve another mention as not only are these devices the only rechargeable direct to consumer in the hearing devices, but they are also the only rechargeable invisible, in-canal hearing aids in general.
So there is nothing that you can pick up from your audiologist that is fully invisible in the canal and is rechargeable. I think that this itself is a great USP from Eargo. And if I consider some of the other direct to consumer tech, that's been coming out such as Bose's recent release of the SoundControl hearing aids.
They still require batteries to be replaced once a week. Bluetooth used to be a USP with hearing tech, and now it is the foundation of all traditional hearing aids. Plus most new OTC and DTC devices come into market. However, similarly to Eargo 6's previous hearing aids, Eargo 6 does not support streaming audio from Bluetooth-enabled devices.
So if you do receive a phone call whilst you're wearing Eargo, you would simply hold the telephone next to your ear and take the call as you would do normally, which also goes for streaming music too. The downside of that specifically with these devices also comes down to their likelihood of feeding back. And we did find that during the testing process, when a phone was held close to the ear, it did cause the devices to feedback and whistle.
So hearing on the cell phone is definitely something that needs some work from Eargo. Whilst there is a feedback manager actually built into these devices, which does help, if you are hearing losses of a moderate severity, then it's possible that you will experience feedback just based on our experiences. It isn't a game changer for me, but just something to be aware of, depending on your level of hearing. One aspect that I'm really impressed by by Eargo is that they provide ongoing customer support by their team of technicians and a hearing care professionals to help you with the setup process and also provide ongoing support. So I definitely can't fault them on that.
This is all included within the cost of the devices and not limited to the length of the warranty, which is two years. And I guess this is one of the main reasons that pushes the cost of these devices significantly above its competition. They do offer a 45 day trial offering a no quibble refund if you are dissatisfied with the products.
Being a video man, myself, another level of support, which I was impressed by was the plethora of video tutorials on their website. So if you are more of a video person, you may find that really helpful. So for my closing thoughts for the price, I do think that the Eargo 6es are a little on the expensive side and you may well say Matthew, well, that's just what a set of traditional hearing aids cost. And to be fair, you'll be right. The difference is that with a traditional set of hearing aids, you would also have access to an audiologist, which isn't quite the same as having access to somebody supporting you remotely via email, online, or through an app. Don't get me wrong.
I think that the support is great from a technical point of view, but not necessarily going to help you optimize the settings to be as effective as possible to overcome your hearing loss. So for me, yes, whilst the price point is attractive. There are technically more advanced and professionally fitted hearing aids also available at a similar price or even less. I really did want these devices to be the first DTC devices that would wow me and they have with some of their features. However, I do think that money needs to be invested by Eargo to overcome some of the issues that have outlined today.
At the same time, Eargo are offering their 45 day trial period, which tells me that they're pretty confident about their product. Hearing tracker have worked with Eargo to give anyone subscribe to the hearing tracker channel, a free sample product. So head over to the link in the description to get your hands on it.
I would love to see the developments with the likes of a telecoil, Bluetooth streaming, or even tenetos features, but given the size and positioning of the devices in the ear, I just don't think it's going to be possible to squeeze every piece of tech in there. And also to be able to maintain that day of battery life at the same time. Don't forget to head over to the hearing tracker product page to see our write up of the Eargo 6s, plus user ratings and reviews too.
I'll link the Eargo 6 page in the description beneath this video. I hope that you found this video useful guys, if you like this video, then please go ahead and click like, if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below, and I'll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. And if you haven't subscribed yet, then make sure you do so, I'll see you in the next video.