At the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019, Eargo revealed their NEO hearing aid which is their newest Rechargeable Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) Hearing Aid designed for Mild to Moderate High Frequency Hearing Losses.In fact, as of right now, Eargo has the only Rechargeable Invisible-In-Canal Hearing Aid on the market. Some aspects of the NEO have definitely improved over the previous Max and Plus versions.
The biggest improvement is the form factor, particularly the flexi-palms. The new flexi-palms are significantly more comfortable than the flexi-fibers that the previous versions used. They are now almost as comfortable as a custom molded IIC hearing aid. The hearing aid has also seen a significant upgrade as well. The build quality is so much better than before. The battery contacts are flush with the body of the aid, they've added additional microphone ports, and they made the body more cylindrical which leads to a more comfortable fit. Since less grime can get trapped in the recessed battery contacts of the hearing aid.In terms of the fit and feel of the NEOs, they are very comfortable, and are basically 98% invisible.
They are black so they vanish inside of the ear canal and the only thing outside of your ear canal is the clear removal string. The other nice thing about the NEOs is that you don't experience the Occlusion effect which makes your voice boomy and loud to yourself. Because the device is suspended in your ear canal and allows for the passage of your own voice outside of your ear canal, it prevents this from occurring just like wearing an open fit hearing aid.The new Charger case uses a USB-C charger instead of the Micro-USB from the previous versions.
It stores several charges so you don't need the cable, and you also get 16 hours of battery life in the NEOs on a single charge. The first charger I received from Eargo had issues with the devices not charging properly, and about 1/2 way through my first review, one of the devices failed. However, customer support from Eargo promptly replaced the faulty components. The Smartphone App is another new feature for the NEOs. The App connects to the charger, not the hearing aids, so you can't use the app to stream audio or make adjustments to the hearing aids. The app is limited and doesn't really serve much of a purpose, but it does allow for Eargo Customer Support to upload some different preset programs into your devices. Eargo has 4 additional program settings they can send you - Mute, Flat-Response, Noise Reduction, & Feedback Reduction programs.Contrary to popular belief, Eargo cannot customize the audio of your devices. They have the same programming for everyone, so it is on you to find the volume and program setting that you feel works best.
That being said, I was able to perform Real Ear Measurement on the NEOs to see how close they would come to a Prescriptive target. They use a Linear prescription in their devices which is difficult to verify since almost nobody uses an Linear prescriptive method anymore. So I tested with a Non-Linear prescription, the NAL-NL2, but for only a 65 dB SPL input. Basically, the Eargo struggles to meet prescriptive targets. It overshoots some frequencies and undershoots others. It is difficult for the devices to come close to the prescription for a Moderate hearing loss.
The additional Eargo programs were also measured to see how well they functioned. The Flat response program did reduce some highs and increase some mid-frequencies, but not my much. The Noise Reduction program does reduce noise by an additional 2-3 dB SPL. The Feedback Reduction Program reduces gain at around 3,000 Hz to reduce the chance for feedback to occur.The cost of these devices is around $2,750. It comes with a 1 year warranty that you can extend for an additional year for a fee.
You will have advanced replacement which means that if a hearing aid fails, Eargo will send you another one before you send back the broken one. Overall, the Eargo NEO is a decent online hearing aid. It can't be customized, but the other benefits of being rechargeable and invisible might be more important to you.
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