We’ve already seen Bose release over-the-counter hearing aids that offer audio enhancement assistance to individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. It’s a market that audio companies can definitely get into with their experience in making sound-enhancing audio products. But why make standalone hearing aids when you can just integrate the hearing aid into your true wireless earbuds? That’s, pretty much, what they’re doing here with the Jabra Enhance Plus.
Billed as a “3-in-1 earbud for hearing enhancement, music, and calls,” the device allows you to wear the same pair of earbuds throughout the day, whether you’re looking to enhance your hearing as you go about your daily tasks, take calls hands-free, or even listen to your Neil Young playlist on Spotify. Oh wait… there’s no more Neil Young on Spotify, but you can listen to your other playlists all the same.
The Jabra Enhance Plus is actually pretty small for a pair of true wireless earbuds. Seriously, they look way more discreet than any of the true wireless offerings out there, which makes us think it probably won’t make your favorite songs sound quite as good as the best true wireless earbuds out there. It will, however, help mitigate any hearing loss you’ve begun experiencing, as it uses its four built-in mics to pick up ambient sounds, while the built-in algorithm clears out any background noise and enhances the parts you actually want to hear in real time.
These are not the same as the full-fledged hearing aids you’ve probably seen older people use, by the way. Instead, these are aimed at folks with only mild to moderate hearing problems – the kind of people who tend to not go in for prescription hearing aids quite yet. According to the outfit, it’s supposed to “bridge the average 6-year gap between first noticing some hearing loss, and actually seeking help.”
The Jabra Enhance Plus comes with a companion app that you can use to customize the earbuds to your specific hearing enhancement needs, ensuring you can tailor the level of audio amplification, speech filters, noise canceling, and other parameters to your particular requirements. We’re guessing it also has specific settings you can adjust for the level of noise cancelation when taking phone calls and listening to music, since that should have different requirements compared to the settings for hearing enhancement.
From what we can tell, any controls are offloaded directly to the app, since they wanted to make it as compact as possible. Basically, it won’t have the same fancy features as your favorite true wireless earbuds, but they should work as a serviceable alternative all the same. The earbuds, by the way, can hold with 10 hours’ worth of battery life, with the charging case housing an extra 20 hours.
The Jabra Enhance Plus has received FDA 510(k) clearance as a self-fitting hearing aid, making it qualified as an over-the-counter purchase as soon as the pending FDA regulation takes effect. It will be available in February 25 for $799. In case the regulation isn’t approved yet by that time, you might have to take a hearing test if you want to purchase as early as possible.