What are Eargo Hearing Aids?
Eargo hearing aids were founded by an ear, nose, and throat doctor who wanted to offer aesthetically pleasing hearing devices for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In 2015, Eargo began shipping using a direct-to-consumer model and went public on the stock market 5 years later. They have become a company known just as much for their hearing devices and flashy design as their stock market standings.
Eargo Hearing Aid Products
Eargo offers 4 models of hearing aids as well as accessories like a charging station, wax guards, mic caps, and “petals” and “flexis” which are add-ons that alter the hearing experience.
The Eargo shop recommends swapping out the mic caps and petals every 2 months, which can become costly, so keep that in mind when it comes to prices!
Here is more information about the hearing devices themselves:
Eargo Neo HiFi
Price: $1,950 per pair
- Helps reduce noise and cancel out feedback, while amplifying speech
- Fits inside the ear canal to appear invisible
- Pro: Easy to hear outside because the devices reduce wind sounds
- Con: After 30 minutes of charging, battery life was only “a few hours”
Price: $1,450 per pair
- Uses “flexi” silicone material instead of hard plastic to fit in the ear canal, allowing for airflow and comfort
- Offers 4 settings or sound profiles for you to choose from
- Pro: Charger comes with device and acts as the carrying case
- Con: Boosts only mid and high frequencies, making it similar to an amplifier (rather than a “true hearing aid”). It’s also the only one of Eargo’s models that doesn’t connect to the smartphone app.
Price: $2,450 per pair
- Connects to a smartphone app where you can get a device-specific hearing screening and chat with a professional
- Rechargeable battery that can last up to 16 hours
- Pro: Eargo app lets you take a screening with the devices in your ears, so you can update and alter specifications as often as you wish
- Con: Inoperable for those without the smartphone app
Price: $2,950 per pair
- Water resistant up to 3 feet for less than 30 minutes
- 2 options for “petals” that keep the hearing aid in your ear – open and closed. Open lets in more outside sounds, while closed cuts off feedback, so you can decide your hearing preference.
- Pro: Adjusts automatically to your sound setting. You do not need to make any manual changes if you are going from one location to the next since the hearing aid does it for you.
- Con: Automatic adjustments are good for only 3 environments. If you would like to add a 4th setting (ex: restaurant, outdoors, conversation, television), this is not possible.
How Much Do Eargo Hearing Aids Cost?
The Eargo hearing devices range from $1,450 to $2,650.
When considering the price, keep in mind that the mic and “petal” parts of the devices need frequent replacement. Replacements can cost between $25 to $40 every 8 weeks or so.
The batteries are rechargeable. If you lose the charger there is a $295 replacement fee.
Reviews for Eargo Hearing Aids
Eargo has a reputation on the stock market and within the legal world.
In 2018, Time listed Eargo as one of the best inventions of the year, which led to a huge showing when it went public on the stock market in 2020. However, it didn’t take long for things to change.
In September 2021, share prices dropped massively by 68%.
So, why did the plummet happen?
The Department of Justice began investigating the possibility of insurance fraud at Eargo.
Eargo submitted insurance reimbursement claims for their customers, but may not have been following legal routes.
By April 2022, Eargo agreed to pay out 34.27 million dollars to settle the claim.
On TrustPilot, Eargo has a score of 4.2 out of 5 with only 30 reviews.
At Consumer Affairs, the score increases to 4.4 out of 5 with 147 reviews.
On the Better Business Bureau (BBB), they have a 3.31 out of 5 with 114 reviews.
Eargo has been BBB accredited since 2016 and maintains an A minus score.
Frequent Customer Complaints About Eargo Products
Customer service Issues:
Customer service can be tricky with Eargo. The chat box listed on their website offers basic answers to pre-filled frequently asked questions.
If you need something more specific answer, you need to provide a phone number for a representative to call you back.
Additionally, the representatives are not all informed at the same level. It’s a gamble of whether or not your question will be answered.
Complaints on the BBB website list untimely responses, long hold times, and empty promises from representatives.
Not Good for Low-frequency Hearing Loss:
Not all hearing needs are met, especially for those with low-frequency hearing loss.
The design of the Eargo hearing devices is that they let certain sounds pass through the ear and amplify others, so they don’t work for everyone’s hearing loss needs.
Eargo’s hearing screening is also not thorough and doesn’t provide users with a comprehensive view of their hearing needs.
Hearing test takers may not be aware of the levels of their hearing loss.
You and your neighbor probably have different levels of hearing loss. So why would you want the same hearing aids?
For the best results, hearing aids should be customized to your specific level of hearing loss.
Unfortunately, many of Eargo’s products do not allow for special programming, leading to a one-size-fits-all hearing solution.
Some complain that their devices stopped working around the time their warranty was expiring. Here is one BBB review from May 2022 that mentions a breakdown around the 1-year warranty cut-off as well as cleaning issues:
“Eargo hearing aids I ordered stop working. I had these for over a year, and they worked fine, being used and clean then just as I do now, however, they continue to suddenly stop working…As I said prior I clean them and use them just as I have from day one, but when I talked with an audiologist they made it sound like it is my fault for the hearing aid failures.
They have told me to use compressed air to clean the part facing out of the ear. I did this, same results of failure. I was using their brush they sent along with my cleaning kit, now they are telling me to get a stiff toothbrush to use on this part. None of these fixes are mentioned in [the] literature [you] receive with [your] order.
They are blaming it on oils in the hearing aid, the oils in my ear are not on the speaker and I change wax guards regularly but am now changing them more often due to their advice. I am tired of sending for replacements every 3 or 4 weeks and having them act like it is my fault they are stopping. As I said, I have had them for sixteen months and for the first year if I had a problem I would brush the speaker and fix the problem, now suddenly every replacement I get fails…”
Pros and Cons of Eargo Hearing Aids:
The biggest benefit seen across the board is the look of the devices.
Since they are small and designed to rest inside the ear canal with optimal airflow, customers appreciate the comfort and style.
Eargo continues to release new models. The Max came to the market in 2018, then the Neo HiFi in 2020, the Eargo 5 in 2021, and the Eargo 6 in 2022.
It seems they are frequently reworking their devices and adding new features.
Upkeep can be expensive. Because the devices sit completely inside the ear, they need to be cleaned more often, and parts need frequent replacement which can be costly.
No custom solutions
Eargo does not offer custom solutions for hearing loss. Those with moderate hearing loss will need a stronger hearing aid tailored to their hearing loss based on a clinically verified hearing test or audiogram.
The hearing screening provided on Eargo’s website is very basic and connects to their basic hearing device settings.
The original models of Max and Neo HiFi work more as amplifiers, and at their costs, you’re not getting the most bang for your buck.
Amplifiers are cheaper than hearing aids because they do not require the same technology, but Eargo’s prices do not reflect this difference.
Are Eargo Products True Hearing Aids or Amplifiers?
Eargo’s devices fall under the FDA’s Class II Medical Grade Hearing Aids, meaning they are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
However, none of the devices require a true hearing test for programming, so they are still on the basic end. It is only the Eargo 5 and Eargo 6 that allows for more nuanced hearing adjustments.
The Max and the Neo HiFi are basic enough that they could be considered amplifiers. Amplifiers do not help with speech clarity or background noise and won’t help prevent the spread of word recognition loss.
Are Eargo Hearing Aids Worth the Money?
Depending on the model you purchase, you may consider Eargo to be worth the money. The more basic Max and Neo HiFi have a relatively high cost for such low technological tools. There are cheaper amplifiers on the market that serve the same purposes.
The Eargo 5 and Eargo 6 do have more improvements and could be a good first pair of hearing aids if you have very mild hearing loss. Anyone with more moderate or severe hearing loss would be better served with a hearing aid programmed to a hearing test.
What is Eargo’s Return Policy?
The Max, Neo HiFi, and Eargo 5 all have a 1-year warranty, and the Eargo 6 has a 2-year warranty. Warranties include unlimited repairs, and once the warranty period ends, you can still get an inspection of your device for $295.
Eargo will repair or exchange the device at its own discretion, and you may be mailed back a refurbished version of your hearing device. The return period for all devices is 45 days. Refunds are only given if the device is complete and still has all the original parts.
Audicus vs. Eargo Hearing Aids
Eargo has not yet included Bluetooth connectivity in their devices. Instead, they rely on the hearing device to pick up on a high-frequency sound from a phone. This means your phone must be in a nearby radius with the volume turned up.
Audicus uses Bluetooth which allows you to wear hearing aids that seamlessly connect to your Apple or Android phone to transmit calls, connect to TVs or music, and easily use the Audicus app.
Audicus’s customer service can’t be beaten. With an online chat tool, email address, and toll-free number, it is easy to get your questions answered by a hearing aid professional. Because of the quality of the product and customer services, there are fewer returns at Audicus than at Eargo.
The online hearing test provided by Audicus is more comprehensive than the one provided by Eargo and actually can be used to program a hearing aid. It is important to know your levels of hearing loss, and Audicus’s test will provide that information.
Style of Hearing Aids
Audicus provides mostly behind-the-ear hearing aid styles. You may prefer Eargo’s in-ear style, but Audicus has those too! It is nice to shop with a company that takes into account your preferences.
Some of Audicus’ more advanced devices may seem a little higher priced than Eargo’s, simply because the technology is greater and that does come at a cost. In this case, it is better to evaluate based on the quality and value of the product than the price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Eargo have rechargeable hearing aids?
Yes, all of Eargo’s hearing devices are rechargeable. The Eargo 5 and Eargo 6 utilize inductive charging where you simply drop the devices into the charger. The Neo and Max use contact charging which can have issues if there is buildup around the contact points.
Who makes Eargo hearing aids?
Eargo manufactures their devices out of California. They use a design company called Ammunition Design Group to create the concepts.
Can I use Eargo hearing aids with my smartphone?
The Eargo 5 and Eargo 6 connect to Eargo’s smartphone app. The app lets you make adjustments for your hearing preferences and talk with the Eargo customer service team.
Which Eargo hearing aid has Bluetooth?
None of Eargo’s hearing devices have Bluetooth capabilities.
Does Eargo have store locations?
Currently, there are no in-person Eargo store locations. All sales occur via their website or phone.
Which Eargo hearing aid is the best?
The Eargo 6 is the top of the line for Eargo because it uses its Sound Adjust technology to automatically shift settings depending on your environment. It can also be specialized using the Eargo app and is water resistant.