If you’re buying a hearing aid and have questions, our research team investigated how Eargo Neo compares to more expensive hearing aids. Here’s what we learned.

So, you noticed you have difficulty hearing, you often ask people to repeat what they say and it seems like everyone around you is mumbling. You are ready to buy hearing aids, but with so many choices how do you decide what is a good quality device that will not only improve the understanding of speech but also provide good sound quality?

Here at Eargo, we know that this can be an overwhelming decision. You might think that buying very expensive hearing aids that cost more than $5,000 a pair will guarantee that the sound quality will be superior to more affordable options like the Eargo Neo. To make your decision easier, our research team set out to investigate how Eargo Neo compares to three more expensive hearing aids: the Starkey Livio AI 2400, the Phonak Audeo Marvel M90, and the Resound Linx Quattro 5. 

For a fair and objective comparison, we used industry standard, objective tests developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). In addition, we evaluated the ability of each hearing aid to make speech more understandable using another industry standard test called the Speech Intelligibility Index (SII).

The Tests

The electroacoustic bench tests we used in this study had 2 main goals:

  1. To determine if the hearing aids are able to amplify sounds appropriately to improve speech audibility. 
  2. To evaluate the quality of the sound amplified by the hearing aids.

Here is a summary of the tests performed:

To ensure that the data collected was consistent and accurate, the measurements were performed by two licensed audiologists in two different hearing aid test systems (Audioscan Verifit and Frye FONIX systems). The results were then compared for discrepancies.  If there were no major discrepancies, the better result of the two measures was used. If greater discrepancies existed, both measures were performed again.

In order to determine what qualified as a good result, we performed an extensive review of recent research and used the most cited standards as our benchmarks:

  • Total Harmonic Distortion: The distortion level should be below 3% for all frequencies tested (ANSI 2009 S3.22).
  • Equivalent Input Noise: The level of noise should be below 28 dB SPL (ANSI S3.22-1987).
  • Frequency Range: Frequency range should include 250 to 6000 Hz to cover the complete range of speech (Reed et al., 2017).
  • Speech Intelligibility Index: The device provides appropriate amplification for a specific hearing loss, as determined by the Audioscan Verifit test system. We chose a typical moderate hearing loss for this test.

Typical Moderate Hearing Loss (Bisgaard et al., 2010: Audiogram A23)

The Devices

The price and sound quality of devices are major factors affecting the purchase of hearing aids. For this study, we wanted to compare the Eargo Neo device with other hearing aids currently on the market. It’s important to highlight that with all devices we tested for this study, you not only get the hearing aid but also access to support from a licensed hearing professional, which is included in the price. 

*Prices may vary and are dependent on the location of purchase.

The Results

Speech Audibility Tests

  • Frequency Range

All devices tested met the acceptable frequency range, amplifying frequencies in a range of at least 250Hz to 6000Hz. Most speech sounds range between 250Hz to 4000Hz, and some speech sounds go up to 6000Hz. Covering this large range of frequencies is important to appropriately amplify speech sounds.

  • Speech Intelligibility Index

All devices tested had an acceptable speech intelligibility index. This means that all the devices would be able to provide appropriate amplification for a user with a moderate hearing loss to improve speech audibility.

Sound Quality Tests

  • Total Harmonic Distortion

All devices tested had a low level of distortion (less than 3%).  Having a low Total Harmonic Distortion means that the hearing aid can amplify sound and speech more accurately.

  • Equivalent Input Noise

Equivalent input noise levels were good (less than 28 dB SPL) for all hearing aids tested.  Having a low noise level means that the hearing aid can provide a cleaner sound to the listener.

Conclusions

Our goal was to test the Eargo Neo and three other more expensive hearing aids using industry standard test criteria for hearing aids.

The results demonstrate that all the devices tested met or exceeded appropriate levels of sound quality and amplification to improve speech audibility. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Eargo hearing aids, give us a call at 1 (800) 734-7603.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

Device Name Price (per pair)* Frequency Range EIN THD SII
Eargo Neo

$2750

Starkey Livio AI 2400 

$8118

Phonak Audeo Marvel M90

$7848

Resound Linx Quattro 5 

$3832

 

*Prices may vary and are dependent on the location of purchase.

Author

The Eargo clinical research department: Jake Hall, Travis Allyn, Lilach Ofri, and Daniel Shen

The Eargo clinical research department is led by Eargo founder and chief clinical and science officer, Daniel Shen. His team is comprised of Jake Hall (research audiologist), Travis Allyn (clinic manager) and Lilach Orfi (clinical research manager). Together they work tirelessly on ensuring Eargo devices not only maximizes individuals hearing, but on how they can help people live their lives to the fullest.   

References

American National Standards Institute. (2009). American National Standard Specification of Hearing Aid Characteristics. ANSI S3.22-2009. New York: American National Standards Institute.

Audioscan. Verifit Available at: http://www.audioscan.com/Verifit/.

Frye Electronics. Manuals Available at: http://www.frye.com/wp/manuals/

Reed NS, Betz J, Lin FR, Mamo SK. Pilot Electroacoustic Analyses of a Sample of Direct-to-Consumer Amplification Products. Otol Neurotol. 2017; (6):804-808. 

Bisgaard et al. Standard Audiograms for the IEC 60118-15 Measurement Procedure. Trends Amplif. 2010 Jun; 14(2): 113–120.

Scollie, S.D. (2018). 20Q: The Speech Inteligibility Index – Integrating it into your hearing aid fittings. AudiologyOnline, Article 23707. Retrieved from www.audiologyonline.com

Hearing Aid prices obtained from: https://www.hearingtracker.com/hearing-aids#a-hearing-aid-prices. Obtained on 11/13/2019.

Author

Daniel is Eargo's Founder and Chief Clinical & Science Officer. Brilliant, logical, curious, he’s our Mr. Spock—but way more fun at parties.

4 Comments

    • The use of hearing aids is actually one of the ways to help relieve the symptoms of tinnitus. There’s a high correlation between tinnitus and hearing loss, so if you have tinnitus, it’s possible you have some hearing loss, too. Wearing a hearing aid like Eargo has been found to be effective for some people with hearing loss who also experience tinnitus—and remember, you’ve got that 45-day, risk-free trial period to make sure Eargo is a good solution for you.

  1. Gary Friedenbach Reply

    OK, I did a ton of research (both on-line and testing other brands from the local competition) and arrived at the fact the Eargo meets and/or exceeds the competitive set in most all tested catagories. The real killer is the Eargo is priced substantially below all of it’s competitive set. as my present aids (Zounds) went into bankruptcy and I am unable to get service, I had no option but to find a new set of aids..
    I ordered the Eargo Neo set yesterday and am anxiously awaiting the arrival. time will tell if I made a wise purchase or not?

    • Thank you for trying Eargo, Gary. It’s important to know that each purchase of our revolutionary hearing aids comes with a 45 day, easy return policy if they aren’t right for your mild to moderately severe high-frequency hearing loss.

Write A Comment