Honestly, I can't believe they jammed so many features inside of such a small hearing aid. Hi guys. Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. And in this video I'm doing a detailed review of the Jabra Enhance Plus over the counter hearing aid, coming up.
With the final over-the-counter hearing aid guidelines finally taking effect as of October, 2022, the Jabra Enhance Plus self fitting hearing aids are now officially over-the-counter hearing aids. Previously, the only way to get these self fitting hearing aids was to go into a hearing care professional's office, receive a hearing test, and then order them directly through that hearing care professional, which kind of defeated the whole purpose of these self fitting devices. However, you can now officially purchase the Jabra Enhance Plus over-the-counter hearing aids online through a link that I'll have down in the description as well as on my website, HearingUp.com. The Jabra Enhance Plus over-the-counter hearing aids have a ton of great features that you cannot find inside of other over-the-counter hearing aids, so I am super excited to share them with you. But before I do, if you could do me a huge favor and click the like button, it really helps out my channel because it gets these videos in front of a bigger audience.
And while you're at it, if you have not yet hit that subscribe button with Notification Bell, go ahead and do that as well, because that ensures that you never miss one of my newly released videos and I release multiple new videos every single week. That being said, I really appreciate it and let's go ahead and get into some of the disclaimers for these over-the-counter hearing aids. Disclaimer number one, the Jabra Enhance Plus over-the-counter hearing aids are intended for adults with a perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. So if you are not yet an adult or you have a hearing loss that is more significant than mild to moderate, these devices will not work for you. Disclaimer number two, even if you do have a perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, your performance with the Jabra Enhance Plus over-the-counter hearing aids will depend on how well you or a hearing care professional can program them to your hearing loss prescription.
Disclaimer number three, if you have any of the following red flags, you need to immediately consult with an audiologist or a physician that specializes in the ears because it could be a sign of a serious medical condition. These red flags include visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ears, history of active drainage from either ear within the previous 90 days, visible evidence of significant earwax accumulation or foreign body in the ear canal, pain or discomfort in the ear, acute or chronic dizziness, history of sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss within the previous 90 days or unilateral hearing loss of sudden or recent onset within the previous 90 days as well. And disclaimer number four, if you try the Jabra Enhance Plus over-the-counter hearing aids and you do not have success with them, it does not mean that hearing aids wouldn't work for you.
It just means that you likely need prescription hearing aids from a hearing care professional who follows best practices. Now, if you do not know what best practices are, I highly recommend that you check out my video that I'll link in the description because best practices will dictate how much benefit you receive from hearing aids.
To kick things off, you may be aware that Jabra is owned by the GN group, which also owns ReSound, which is one of the major hearing aid brands that is widely recognized around the world. This means that not only are these hearing aids developed and manufactured by one of the major players in the consumer headphones market, but they also have direct access to the technology and expertise of a major player in the hearing aid industry. Let me go ahead and show you what they actually look like. Okay, so here is what they actually look like inside of the charger.
Hopefully you can see them okay right there, but these guys are really, really small. I'm gonna go ahead and put one of them in my ear right now and then I'm gonna hold the other one up to the camera here for you. So when you look at it, you'll notice a couple things. It actually has an ear gel on there. There are three different sizes of these little domes that you have on there. They are all closed domes, which actually matters. And then on the back of the device right here, you actually have a push button and those push buttons do different things. They do come in multiple colors of these devices as well. You have the black like I have right here, and they also have like a goldish beige color. Now it is very clear that Jabra was trying to keep these devices as small as possible, and as you can see, those are incredibly small inside of my ear.
Now, I do have other devices here that I can do a comparison with, so let me go ahead and take this one out. I'm actually gonna put in one of these other earbud style devices that has amplification capabilities, and then I'm gonna put the Jabra Enhance Plus in my right ear. And when it comes down to the size of the device, you can see here that the Jabra Enhance Plus is much, much smaller than the other earbud style amplification devices that you have access to on the market right now. Now, for comparison's sake, I'm gonna take this one out and I'm actually gonna put in an Apple AirPods Pro into my left ear here. And so really the thing is, is that Jabra just didn't want these to stand out. They wanted them to be something that wouldn't draw a lot of attention to them, and even if someone did see them, they wouldn't look at them and be like, oh my gosh, what's that big, huge thing hanging out of your ear?
Now, like I said before, each one of these does have a push button on them, so if you click the push button on the right, it will actually increase the volume on these devices. If you click the push button on the left, it will decrease the volume of these devices. If you give a double click, it will actually mute the devices as well. These push buttons also allow you to activate a Bluetooth pairing mode by pressing and holding the push buttons as well as turning the devices off by pressing and holding for a long time and pressing and holding to turn them back on. Even though when you put them inside of the charger case, they automatically turn off and when you pull them out of the charging case, they automatically turn on. Surprisingly, you get up to 10 hours of battery life with these devices, which is blowing my mind because that is way more than what you get with any of these other direct-to-consumer products that are out there.
And if you run out of battery life, this little case right here stores up to 30 hours of additional battery life. So you don't even have to have this plugged in. You can just unplug it, take it on the go. Whenever you have the opportunity to plug it in, again, it will charge up the case. The question becomes is, will 10 hours of battery life get you through a whole day? If you use these as exclusive hearing aids, the answer for most individuals is probably not, but it is definitely enough to get you through really big chunks of your day if you have important things that you need to be able to hear. Unfortunately, these Jabra devices are Made for iPhone only, so if you are an Android user, you are basically out of luck. Now, I do hope that in the future, they will release a firmware update that will make these compatible with Android devices, but as of right now, you've gotta make sure that you're an iPhone user.
You also have to make sure that your Apple device is using iOS 14.0 or higher, which will allow you to download the Jabra Enhance app so you can customize your devices. The pairing process is exactly the same as any Made for iPhone prescriptive hearing aid, where you will go to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing Devices, and pair your Jabra Enhance Plus self fitting hearing aids. In addition to the hearing test, the app allows you to do several different things. You can check the status of your battery life at the top of the app and you can adjust the volume of your devices up and down. You can change between different listening modes like Surround, which picks up sound from 360 degrees, Focus, which prioritizes sounds coming from the front of you, and Adaptive, which changes your directionality settings automatically based on your environment. In the top right corner menu settings, you have a variety of different things that you can do, starting with being able to adjust your profile and switch your speech filter between normal, clear and full, while getting a sense of these differences by listening to a conversation through your devices.
You can also retake your hearing test in the personalization section, adjust your earbud settings, update your firmware, view the quickstart guides and contact support. After taking the hearing test, these hearing aids will use an NAL-NL2 hearing loss prescription to customize the audio of your hearing aids. Now, I'm not gonna get into exactly what an NAL-NL2 hearing loss prescription is. Just know it is the most common fitting formula for a prescriptive hearing aid. Fortunately, my assistant Bri has a mild to moderate hearing loss, so I was able to have her take the personalization inside of the Jabra Enhance app, and I was able to verify whether or not these devices were capable of meeting her NAL-NL2 hearing loss prescription using real ear measurement. Now, if you do not know what real ear measurement is, I highly recommend that you check out my video that I will link in the description because real ear measurement is possibly the most important thing that you need to have done to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed properly.
Here is Bri's hearing loss that we measured in the clinic from which we will calculate the NAL-NL2 prescription for the amount of amplification that she needs while setting up for real ear measurement. We need to insert probe microphone tubes into Bri's ear canals, and then place the Jabra Enhance Plus hearing aids in her ears as well. This way we can measure and verify the amount of amplification she is actually receiving from these hearing aids. First, I wanted to see how close the initial settings of the Jabra devices came to her hearing loss prescription after she took the hearing test inside of the app and before any manual customizations were actually made. Her prescription is indicated by the red hash mark line and the amplification measured from the Jabra Enhance Plus devices is the red solid line. Ideally, we would want the solid line to overlap with the hash line as closely as possible indicating that she is receiving enough amplification to overcome her mild to moderate hearing loss.
You can see at the default settings that she is under amplified rather significantly in both ears, particularly in the higher frequency regions, which is critical for clarity of speech when wearing hearing aids. Next, I wanted to use the app to optimize the levels of amplification as much as possible. To accomplish this, I had to switch the preferred speech filter in the personalization profile of the menu from normal to clear and increase the overall volume to the maximum of 10. After doing this, you can see how much closer we were to her hearing loss prescription indicated now by the turquoise hash mark line. I also wanted to see what would happen if we switched the speech filter to full, which is now indicated by the solid red line. As you can see, this particular filter reduced the high frequencies significantly and increased the low frequencies.
To test the adaptive directionality feature that utilizes the dual microphones on each device, I compared a front measurement versus a back measurement to see if the amount of amplification for sounds coming from the rear were reduced comparatively. The solid purple line indicates the amount of amplification given to sound that is originating from the front while in Front Focus mode, and the pink solid line is the amount of amplification given to sound originating from the rear while in Front Focus mode. What we would expect to see is the solid pink line to be consistently below the solid purple line, but from what I can tell here, there is not a significant amount of reduction in amplification when sounds are coming from the rear, meaning that the Front Focus mode may not give you as much benefit as you would expect when you're in a background noise situation. To summarize these results, I would say that the Jabra Enhance Plus self fitting hearing aids do a decent job of amplifying to an NAL-NL2 hearing loss prescription with some customization, but they are definitely far from perfect.
When it comes to the overall customization capabilities of these hearing aids, I find them to be a little bit lacking, but you have to remember, I am extremely biased about this as an audiologist because I've been spoiled by the customization capabilities of prescriptive level hearing aids. Now, there is something to be said for the simplicity of these devices because the vast majority of individuals who are going to be using them do not have advanced degrees on how to program hearing aids. By keeping things simple, it does make these hearing aids more user-friendly and quite honestly less likely that you will screw them up even if you cannot program them perfectly to your hearing loss prescription. As far as the overall sound quality goes, I really can't comment because what one person like another person may not like at all. It really has to do with what your specific hearing loss is and whether or not the customizations that you can make with these devices are enough for you to be satisfied.
Quite honestly, the biggest issue that I have with these is the occlusion effect. When you have a device that goes inside of your ear that completely seals your ear canal, it makes your own voice really boomy and loud to yourself. You can actually simulate the occlusion effect by plugging your ears and talking. If that bothers you immensely, these may not be the best hearing aids for you, and you may have to go with something that's more of an open fit, so the sound of your voice can leak out of your ears and prevent the occlusion effect. I really do wish that they would've created an open fit option, but considering that the microphones of these hearing aids are really close to the receiver of these hearing aids, there is the potential that you would get feedback if they did. Now, it does seem as though they have really good feedback suppression because when I wave my hand over my ears, even with them amplified up as high as they can go, I don't get any whistling.
I don't know if that would become a problem if they did have an open fit ear gel. I do find that some of this occlusion effect is limited by increasing the amplification of the devices, but you can still totally tell that it's there, especially if you have a mild to moderate level hearing loss. Of course, the occlusion is also something that allows adaptive directionality to work better, so it will help you better in a background noise situation, and it will actually make music sound better because when you trap the low frequency bass tones inside of your ear canal, it will make music sound much more rich and full. Now, when I'm talking about music sounding better, I'm specifically talking about music that is being streamed wirelessly into these hearing aids from your Apple device. These hearing aids use Bluetooth version 5.2, which not only allow you to connect to the app to make customization changes on these devices, but it also allows you to stream any other type of audio media directly into both of your ears.
So whether you're into audiobooks, podcasts, YouTube videos, or making phone calls, you can do all of that stuff wirelessly. When it comes to talking on the phone, you can be hands free as long as you have an iPhone 11 or newer. Now, if you have an older iPhone, you have to make sure that you have iOS 15.1 in order to be able to do phone calls, but you will not be able to be hands free, meaning that you will have to have your iPhone and talk into the microphone of your iPhone for the person on the other end of the line to hear you. The Jabra Enhance Plus self fitting hearing aids have an IP rating of five two, so it does technically mean that they have some dust resistance and moisture resistance, but it's nowhere close to the typical IP rating of a six eight that you'll find in most prescriptive hearing aids at this point, and at only $800 for the pair,
I do believe that they are worth the cost as long as you have a mild to moderate hearing loss and you're looking to get your feet wet with amplification. At the end of the day, taking all of these things into consideration, I really do like what Jabra has done with their Enhance Plus self fitting hearing aids. I like that they made 'em small. I like that they are really comfortable. I like that they're easy to use. I like that they're rechargeable, and I like that they have direct Bluetooth capabilities. So if you have a confirmed mild to moderate hearing loss and you wanna take the next steps to overcome the difficulties that this creates, but you're not ready for full on professional care at this point, I would highly recommend that you give the Jabra Enhance Plus self fitting hearing aids a try. That's it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. If you wanna see other videos just like this one, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. Also, feel free to check out my website, DrCliffAuD.com.
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