Skip to main content

Bose’s hearing aids cost $850, no audiologist visit necessary

Bose has been working on hearing enhancement technology for several years, but today the company has finally announced its SoundControl Hearing Aids, an $850 set of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared hearing aids that can be configured by buyers at home, without the need for an in-person appointment with an audiologist.

Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids

Initially, they will be sold directly from Bose starting May 18 in five states: Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, with nationwide availability to follow.

Having FDA clearance for direct-to-consumer hearing aid sales is a first, but the price of the SoundControl is also significant. Typically, hearing aids can cost up to $4,000.

Bose says the new hearing aids, which use conventional zinc-air hearing aid batteries, have been developed for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Initial hints that Bose was working on hearing aids were accompanied by photos of an around-the-neck set of wireless earbuds, making it seem as though the hearing aids would also be able to play music. However, Bose makes it clear that the SoundControl are strictly about hearing enhancement: “[They were] optimized, conceptualized, developed, and tested solely to improve hearing,” and they do not stream music or calls, the company said in a press release.

Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids

The key to the SoundControl’s design is Bose’s use of the Bose Hear App, which lets buyers configure the hearing aids by themselves. The app contains Bose’s CustomTune technology, which enables the personalization of settings in about 30 minutes, according to Bose.

These settings, which Bose claims allows for hundreds of fine-tuning options, is done by modifying three different modes: World Volume, which lets you amplify quiet sound instead of loud one;, Focus Mode, which is used for conversations in noisy environments; and an Everywhere mode to hear all surrounding sounds.

Buyers can create multiple hearing presets and store them within each mode inside the app for easy access. It’s a similar approach to the one used by Nuheara in its IQbuds2 Max true wireless earbuds.

Bose includes eight batteries and says that one battery will last up to four days when used 14 hours daily. The hearing aids are water-resistant and can survive light exposure to rain or water. They come with a small case for storage and transport.

Bose also cites a clinical study with researchers at Northwestern University, which shows that Bose CustomTune technology yielded results that were as good as, if not better than, those achieved by traditional prescription-fitting methods used by audiologists. Digital Trends has not read the study and can’t evaluate these claims.

SoundControl Hearing Aids come with a 90-day trial period and dedicated product support including free one-on-one video appointments with Bose Hear product experts to get help and guidance.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
Sony to bring over-the-counter hearing aids to the masses
sony ws audiology announce partnership ota hearing aids widex moment sheer aid

Sony announced today that it has partnered with Danish hearing device experts WS Audiology to develop consumer-friendly, over-the-counter (OTA) hearing aids that users can "just pick up and use as naturally as contact lenses," Sony's Osamu Hajimoto says in a video from Sony Global.

Sony and WS Audiology announce partnership | Official Video

Read more
Expect to hear more about hearing, now that the FDA’s new hearing aid rules are here
Man wearing Olive Max hearing aids.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a new “over-the-counter" (OTC) category for hearing aids. It lets adults with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss buy hearing aids from general retailers and online. In the past, these devices were strictly controlled and required a visit to an audiologist.

Scrapping some of the old regulations is intended to increase access to hearing health by eliminating barriers and lowering costs within the hearing aid industry. It should also encourage a number of new entrants, which could significantly increase choice. So what does the new normal look like for hearing aids?
Over-the-counter hearing aids are the new normal
Two types of air-conduction hearing aids that will now be considered OTC hearing aids by the FDA. Sandra Stafford / Digital Trends

Read more
Olive Max provides low-cost alternative to hearing aids
Man wearing Olive Max hearing aids.

Hearing aids have traditionally been very expensive investments, both in money -- with prices that can easily end up in the thousands -- as well as time, with visits to an audiologist being a requirement. But lately, a slew of new wireless earbuds have been showing up as cost-effective alternatives, and Olive Union's Olive Max might just be the most affordable choice yet. The Olive Max will sell for $549 when they become generally available in the fourth quarter of 2022, but for a limited time, they can be pre-ordered starting April 5, 2022, for $299.

The Olive Max look a lot like the kind of wireless earbuds you might see someone wearing at the gym -- like the Powerbeats Pro -- and that's exactly the point. "Today, true wireless earbuds are everywhere," Olive Union's press release says, "allowing Olive to make design decisions that create hearing health technology that look, feel, and function just like them -- so only the wearer decides if someone should know about their hearing health."

Read more