Bose announced the new SoundControl Hearing Aids — the “first FDA-cleared, direct-to-consumer hearing aid developed for adults with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss.” Paired with the Bose Hear app, users can fit, program, and control a SoundControl Hearing Aid for “clinically proven, audiologist-quality results — without a doctor visit, hearing test, or prescription,” according to the company. And they can make setting adjustments themselves, in real-time and real-world environments, without assistance from a healthcare professional. SoundControl Hearing Aids come with a 90-day, risk-free trial, dedicated product support, and will be sold directly from Bose for $849.95.
The self-fitting SoundControl hearing aid is the first of its kind to gain FDA clearance. In the self-fitting process, the Bose Hear app uses the Bose CustomTune™ interface for mapping to a wide range of target gain profiles, derived from a hearing loss database. An article in the June 2021 Hearing Review by Bose’s Andrew Sabin, PhD, and researchers at the University of Iowa compares the population coverage of SoundControl—or the percentage of people who would be able to find a frequency gain profile similar to a NAL-NL2 prescription fit—demonstrating that it can cover substantially more of the population of individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss than a device with 1-4 presets.
As reported by Hearing Review in May, SoundControl™ Hearing Aids were available on a limited geographic basis, but the devices have now been made available in all 50 states.
“In the United States alone, approximately 48 million people suffer from some degree of hearing loss that interferes with their life. But the cost and complexity of treatment have become major barriers to getting help,” said Brian Maguire, category director of Bose Hear. “The Bose Hear app lets owners set up and customize their SoundControl Hearing Aids from home — in less than an hour — to reconnect with the moments that matter. That’s an amazing advancement the industry has been missing and nothing short of a breakthrough.”
Optimized to Hear Better and Hear More
The Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids were developed by Bose scientists, audiologists, and engineers, combining over 30 years of research in mobile audio, mobile sound management, and advanced data science. It was optimized, conceptualized, developed, and tested solely to improve hearing and does not stream music or calls. With its proprietary technology, speech that once sounded mumbled — especially consonant sounds — is clearer; children’s voices and softer voices are better heard and understood; and following and joining conversations is easier, even in noisy environments, according to the company’s announcement.
Bose CustomTune Technology and the Bose Hear App
Bose CustomTune technology is integrated in the Bose Hear app so users can personalize their settings in about 30 minutes — a shift from the process required for conventional hearing aids, according to Bose. It offers hundreds of options for fine-tuning from just two controls: World Volume can be turned up to amplify quiet sounds more than loud ones so listening is more comfortable, while Treble/Bass can adjust tone to accentuate or diminish certain vocal frequencies. Using Treble, “what’s heard is crisper and brighter; using Bass modifies richness and depth,” the company says.
To help with communication or specific surroundings — whether outside or inside — there’s also a Focus feature. Users can choose the Front setting to zone in on conversations. Or, they can select the Everywhere setting to hear sounds all around — ideal for walks, working around the house, or a day at the park, Bose says. Presets for activities and places can be named and stored in Modes, providing access to preferences for a favorite restaurant, dinner at home with the family, or watching a movie together.
Choosing eartips is equally straightforward, the company says. SoundControl Hearing Aids come with three sizes, both open and closed dome. Finding the right fit and design is done with the app’s step-by-step guide and tutorials.
Complimentary Video Appointments
The Bose Hear app also offers dedicated support. Customers can schedule one-on-one video appointments with Bose Hear Product Experts to get personalized help and guidance — at no cost.
Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids feature a behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal design, and deliver “natural, lifelike audio.” Each weighs 3 grams and contains two microphones, one tiny speaker, and a standard 312 zinc-air battery. Eight batteries are included in total, and one lasts up to 4 days when used 14 hours daily. They can be replaced wherever hearing aid batteries are sold and changed via a door on the exterior. There’s also a World Volume button integrated on the housing for “convenient, quick control.” SoundControl Hearing Aids are water-resistant to survive light exposure to rain or water and come with a small case for storage and transport.
SoundControl Hearing Aids are compatible with iOS and Android devices, use low-energy Bluetooth, and are eligible for FSA and HSA reimbursement. Visitors to Bose.com can find additional information and details.
In a clinical study by researchers from Bose and at Northwestern University published in Trends in Hearing, Bose CustomTune technology yielded results that were “as good if not better than those achieved by traditional prescription-fitting methods used by audiologists,” according to the company. The study’s participants were split into two groups with similar levels of hearing loss. One group used Bose CustomTune technology to self-tune a device, the other had the same device fit and tuned by an audiologist. Participants using Bose CustomTune technology reported being more satisfied with their sound quality than those whose devices were tuned by a hearing health professional.