Eargo 5: a smart hearing aid with built-in test function

Eargo recently released its latest smart hearing aid-Eargo 5.We don’t do a lot of Hearing aid news on Engadget, but this California-based company makes some of the most “gadgets” we’ve tried, and the latest models will certainly continue this trend.

Such as New Hi-Fi with Neo Before it, Ear 5 It is a miniature “invisible” (completely in the ear canal or CIC) hearing aid with a charging case. For older Eargos, this protective case can be used as a way to connect “earphones” to the phone. Unfortunately, this means that the bud must be in it when it is renewed. The new feature this time is that you can perform operations such as configuration file changes while actually wearing the hearing aid.More importantly, there are some key new features that can change the way hearing aids soundFor fans of the brand, this is an exciting update because it adds to the already smooth user experience of Eargo, which is severely lacking in many mainstream brands that you find in local audiologists.

The most interesting new feature is “sound matching”. Hearing aids have had different profiles for a long time, usually adjusted by audiologists according to your own needs, but Eargo’s direct-to-consumer (and earplugs are needed in the case) approach makes this much-needed personalization difficult. Until now?

Sound Match is actually a hearing test built into the Eargo app. After pairing (via Bluetooth), you can remove Eargo 5s and the app will guide you through the test. If you have ever completed a hearing test, you will be familiar with this test. The app will play a series of sounds and you can tell if it can hear it; in the end, you will see the result for each ear.

James Tru/Engadget

It’s that simple, my initial experience was not completely smooth. Especially because it even takes multiple attempts (and back and forth with Eargo) to pair the shell with the app. After trying several reboots and installations, I was able to connect and access the test-most likely because I had early hardware.

From then on, the test was simple, until I found out that there was a “replay” button. I noticed that sometimes when I didn’t hear the sound at first, I would definitely hear it after clicking Replay. Like, its sound is loud enough, I won’t miss it for the first time. This means that I have to re-test to make sure that I did not click “No” by mistake, and in fact no sound is playing at all.

Minor issues aside, once I am confident that I have completed the test correctly, I can further customize the experience by changing the configuration files available on the device. There are six scenarios (restaurant/conference, etc.) and four presets. You can store four in total on the hearing aid.

Previous Eargo models will only tell you the number of audio profiles that were active when you switched the four audio profiles provided (by double-clicking the tragus). With Eargo 5, it will now tell you the name of the profile if you choose one of the “scene” profiles to eliminate any guesswork. You can also further adjust these profiles in the app, or just change the volume and noise reduction (now I should also mention noise reduction) instead of permanently changing the profile. This includes adjusting volume and treble/bass.

Eargo 5 smart hearing aid.

James Tru/Engadget

Although you can now adjust the sound and profile while actually wearing Eargo (previously, you had to take them out and put them in a protective case, which was not ideal), but you cannot transfer music/audio from your phone. Eargo uses ultrasonic commands to communicate between the housing and the hearing aid. This is a clever way to enable small updates, but it’s not enough for more heavyweight content. Remember, size is the key here, and streaming on such a small device, completely in your ears, is not a simple matter.

This new customization feature really improves the Eargo experience. I tried several different devices, and it is foreseeable that the most suitable device for my hearing loss is the one adjusted by the audiologist. This means that although the older Eargos are the most attractive in terms of user experience and adaptability, they are not suitable for my personal situation and can only provide users with limited tools to adjust the sound according to their needs.

Using Eargo 5, I find that they are more helpful for my hearing, especially on the side of my problem. In fact, I personally prefer to wear only one, because my hearing loss is unilateral, and it feels a little better to have an improvement in the “good” aspect. I also found that both are not very comfortable to wear. There is no logical reason why wearing one for a long time should be fine, but two are not, but I think the combination of too much “extra” hearing (in my good side) and the physical sensation of something in both ears is just a lot Sensory stimulation, at least for me. Obviously, if you have a bilateral hearing defect, you will need all the help you can get.

If you have an older pair of Eargos and want to know whether the hearing test function will appear in your model through the update, unfortunately this is not possible. There is specific hardware to enable ultrasonic commands, which did not exist in previous models.

Eargo 5 smart hearing aid.

James Tru/Engadget

In addition to Sound Match, Eargo claims that the sound has been redesigned from the ground up to achieve “best audio and voice performance.” The company did not elaborate further, but, with the new customization features, it can be said that this is a very different experience from the previous model, so it is difficult to single out any other improvements, but it is good to know that they are there.

In addition to the core updates, there are also some welcome usability adjustments. The charging box now has lights around where the hearing aid should be placed to help you properly place the hearing aid at night. When the software is updated or the auxiliary device cannot be charged normally, these lights will also provide feedback by changing the color. You also no longer need to make sure that the contacts on the buds match the contacts in the housing. The new magnetic induction charging system means they will automatically snap themselves into the correct position.

Although Eargo’s application is still a smooth experience, there are still some small opportunities to improve it further. The volume control is very good and simple, you can choose to raise either side individually or in pairs. What is missing is the visual feedback and even the sound in your ears, letting you know when you reach the top or bottom of the range. There is also no indication whether any changes you make to the configuration file will be permanently saved, or whether there is an obvious way to reset them to default values, but these are minor UI issues.

It is said that the battery life after each charge is approximately 16 hours. Coupled with the batteries in the case, this means that you don’t need to plug them into the power source for a few days, which is very convenient when you don’t want to worry about not being able to find a socket when you are out on weekends. However, if you need it, the charger is USB-C, so your phone or laptop may already have it (including cables, of course).

All in all, this is a major update to direct-to-consumer products. Eargo does a good job of making its products easy to use and appealing to a broad audience.This is important when estimating​​ More than 40 million Americans Can benefit from hearing aids. What is missing so far is a way to adjust them to your specific needs. In the world of hearing loss, this may be a better understanding of the difference between TV and being able to pick out quieter sounds in noisy environments. The latter makes everyday life feel more natural and makes social situations more comfortable, so having it on such a small device is really valuable.

But remember, hearing aids are not a cheap product category. A good pair of shoes will usually cost you thousands of dollars. If you want something customized, that’s even more.This Ear 5So, compared with a pair of wireless headphones, the price of $2,950 may seem high, but it is relatively affordable among its hearing aid counterparts. If you are already an Eargo user who wants to upgrade, you can enjoy the “repeat customer discount”, which can save $500 from the suggested retail price.

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