With an estimated 18 million people having an untreated hearing loss, there have been many brands/companies that have tried to tackle this market by introducing a low-cost hearing solution.
Many of them have not achieved the level of success that they expected, and the conclusion that they often come to is that cost is rarely the reason that people do not treat a hearing loss. Instead, vanity of wearing hearing aids and acceptance of a challenge are bigger stumbling blocks.
So, I was interested to read that Jabra has now entered the hearing aid market with the announcement of a brand-new category of devices called “lifestyle devices” – spearheaded by a new product called the Jabra Enhance Plus.
The Question Is, What Are ‘Lifestyle Devices,’ How Are They Different, And Who Are They Supposedly For?
As this is a brand-new product that has only just launched, it’s understandable that my knowledge of this product is rudimentary at best, but after doing some research and delving into the specifics of what the product does and who it is for, I can safely offer my professional opinion and make some sound assumptions.
So, the very first thing I’d like to mention about the Jabra Enhance Plus is that it has been created with the younger, more image conscious person in mind.
This new category of device promises to be discreet, multi-functional, and deliver the benefits that younger people with active and modern needs have long been seeking.
However, what is clear is that it’s distinctively different from traditional hearing aid. It’s more of a combination between high-grade consumer electronics and hearing technology.
They are designed to deliver what is promised to be sleek earbuds that offer capabilities including personalized hearing enhancement as well as offering great quality music and seamless in-ear phone calls.
But, Unlike The Recently Launched Bose SoundControl…
…the Enhance Plus encourages the support of a hearing care professional to check your candidacy first, which is a big step forward given how many people incorrectly self-diagnose themselves.
This means that you will be able to visit your local Certified Jabra Enhance Center, or work with an online professional, which is brilliant news for us audiologists who have been rallying this level of acceptance that hearing devices must be prescribed opposed to self-diagnosed.
Plus, with over-the-counter devices currently being a very hot topic following the recent executive order from President Biden adding pressure for affordable solutions being made available to even more Americans, this product has potentially come at the best time.
Jabra claims that the Enhance Plus delivers hearing aid-like performance, that candidacy is still assessed following all state and federal laws, and that it’s built for people with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss, which includes the aforementioned 18 million people.
The question is, how is it different from anything else that is available and what does this mean for you and the people that you care about who potentially have some form of hearing loss?
Important Details About The Jabra Enhance Plus
To avoid any confusion, the Jabra Enhance Plus is NOT a replacement for traditional hearing aids and it’s not in competition with them.
The Jabra Enhance Plus is specifically for people who have a mild-to-moderate hearing loss who are looking to improve their hearing ability in certain social settings while still enjoying the many benefits of a connected wireless earbud.
Jabra conducted in-depth research and learned that people wanted a simplified hearing aid that is a lower-cost and accessible alternative to hearing instruments, with hearing support being just one of many benefits.
With this understanding, they developed the Jabra Enhance Plus that is a set of miniature earbuds engineered for hearing enhancement, music, and calls.
The Major Benefits Of The Jabra Enhance Plus Include:
- Digital noise reduction to cut background noise
- Speech-in-noise capabilities to help you to hear conversations in louder environments
- 10 hours battery and up to 30 hours battery rechargeability when using the carry case
- EarGels in three sizes for a secure and comfortable fit
- Rich and clear sound for music and phone calls (just as you would expect from Jabra)
But the biggest difference between the Jabra Enhance Plus and some of the other readily available devices that are aggressively advertising is that Jabra ensures you make the right choice for your hearing by encouraging you to visit an experienced hearing care professional.
The reason that this is an essential part of the process is that they understand that the most important step in addressing any form of hearing challenge is that you first need to have a hearing assessment, in the same way that a complete eye exam would be your preferred option before determining your prescription for eye glasses.
With many other devices that only require self-diagnosing of your hearing loss through an app and programming your own devices, there are many risks, and as professionals, we would advise away from any solution that is selling you a product before understanding your own unique circumstances.
Attempting to self-diagnose is risky business, and there are many scenarios where self-diagnosis has resulted in significant long-term damage being caused.
We test many ears per week and we often meet people that believe that they have a hearing challenge that either don’t or the cause is something other than hearing loss, such as a buildup of earwax or a more complicated medical concern.
Who Is Likely To Benefit Most From Wearing The Enhance Plus?
This is where the mind-shift change is really paramount, as these devices have been specifically designed for the 18 million of us who have an untreated hearing loss but are not quite ready for hearing aids, including people of all ages (except children).
Where traditionally, people with a mild hearing loss may have thought that hearing aids were an unnecessary overcompensation to a mild problem and therefore chose to “wait it out,” or worse, ignored the problem entirely, this product should create a mindset shift where people can see these devices as a great alternative.
That’s because, based on Jabra’s research, they learned that a large majority of people wanted a lower-cost and accessible alternative to hearing instruments, with hearing support being just one of many benefits.
Of course, there are other factors that Jabra has considered, including the real concerns people have about the appearance of hearing aids, which is why this new product has been built around this research with hearing support, music, and phone calls all seamlessly working through a stylish earphone-like earbud instead of a hearing aid design.
The outcome of this is that these devices are mainly for people that:
- Acknowledge a hearing loss but are looking for support in certain situations only
- Want a “miniature” discreet but visible product in non-traditional form factor
- Don’t want a traditional hearing aid but do want the comfort of medical technology & backup support
- Want a multi-functional and easy-to-use affordable device
- Would like others to believe they’re wearing an earphone, when in reality, it’s helping them to hear
We are hopeful that these devices and others like this will start to normalize the treatment of hearing loss and give confidence to more people so that they don’t have to struggle as much as they do now.
In my opinion, this product would be great for people in Massachusetts who want to:
- Try to cut through the background noise in airports and crowded venues
- Focus on what their friends and family are saying in social scenarios
- Better communicate with servers when discussing menu choices
- Give their barista their preferred coffee order (and hear them call their name when it’s ready)
- Engage in video conferences and Zoom meetings
- And much more
- Hear their loved ones if they aren’t facing them.
They’re aimed at assisting in certain situations, not being a long-term hearing loss solution – being ideal for people with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss that just need a helping hand, as well as a stylish earbud that offers additional capabilities.
How Much Does The Jabra Enhance Plus Cost?
At this time, it’s unknown as there’s been no announced cost. The general expectation is that these will be priced slightly more than premium headphones and slightly less than entry-level hearing aids.
Based on this, we’re predicting around $1000. But at this stage, it’s all speculation.
Here Is My Honest, Professional Opinion…
In my opinion, these are devices that the hearing care industry has needed for many years. I often have patients who are reporting difficulties in very specific environments yet up until now I had no solution to offer them other than traditional prescription based hearing devices which were not a good option based on the cost and their limited needs.
They often describe to me that they are hearing family and friends just fine in quiet situations however in noisy situations they feel lost. If they are at a restaurant or party and someone speaks to them, they miss out on what is said and often feel left out and embarassed.
With the advent of the Jabra Enhance, we now have a device that can be used for these specific situations at a cost that makes sense to the patient. Similarly to how readers help those who need some help with their vision but aren’t quite ready for bifocals.
I am excited to let the patients I have seen who are candidates for these know that these devices are now available and that I now have a way to assist them!
So, if you have found yourself struggling to hear or questioning your hearing in certain situations, it may be time to get tested to see if this may be an option for you. If you have already been tested and were told you had a mild loss but not enough to do something about it, now is the time to come on in so we can see if this may help.
Would You Like To Further Explore These New Devices?
Naturally, you might have questions, and that’s great, as it means that something you have read has struck a chord.
Perhaps you’ve been noticing slight changes in your hearing lately, and although you haven’t thought it necessary to seek treatment, you still think it’s worth paying attention to.
If that’s true for you, then you could be one of the 18 million people that this new product has been created for, and it might be a smart move just to take that first step in finding out more.
If you are interested in the Jabra Enhance Plus and would potentially like to try them out, then the first thing you should do is visit a hearing healthcare professional to check your candidacy.
With so much change and so many different options available, it’s natural that you may have a question. That’s why our team is here to help and offer you guidance to ensure that you or a loved one makes the right decision
If you have any questions about these new lifestyle devices, or you’d like to trial them out, please request a callback and we’ll get in touch. Alternatively, you can call us at any one of our offices to speak to a specialist and talk about any other hearing health concerns you or your loved ones may have.