A number of companies make "hearing enhancement" devices that look more like a set of earbuds than a piece of clinical tech. Nuheara has been a staple at CES with its IQbuds line and companies like Bose, Bragi, Olive and others have offered a mix of tech and hardware to assist with hearing loss. Even Apple plans to introduce a "Converstaion Boost" for its AirPods Pro. Since the FDA allows companies to sell directly to consumers with mild-to-moderate hearing loss without the need for a prescription, the list of options is constantly growing. Another company that's specifically equipped to blur the line between hearing aid and true wireless earbuds is Jabra, thanks to the auditory assistance expertise of its parent company GN.
With the Jabra Enhance Plus, the company offers a more approachable device for people who may not need what all-day hearing aids offer just yet. Jabra describes these earbuds as "a miniaturized true wireless form factor" that's 50 percent smaller than its stellar Elite 75t model. Those are already some of the smallest buds I've tested, so reducing the size even further makes the Enhance Plus more comfortable and more discreet. Plus, a design that resembles earbuds rather than a traditional hearing aid helps reduce the stigma around wearing something that helps your hear better.
Inside, four separate sound processing features work to improve audio quality. The Enhance Plus analyzes sound to keep things as natural as possible while also reducing noise for speech clarity. The earbuds also ensure feedback doesn't hinder amplification and they isolate sounds coming from in front of you.
In addition to providing hearing enhancement, the Jabra Enhance Plus can work just like a set of true wireless earbuds to play music and take calls. Similar to other earbuds, the Enhance Plus comes with multiple sizes of ear tips to help you find the best fit, on-board controls and water/dust resistance (IP52). Jabra says they'll last 10 hours on a charge with 30 hours total when you factor in the charging case. An app assists with setup and offers a degree of customization.
Jabra plans to launch the Enhance Plus at "select hearing care clinics" in the US "towards the end of the year." A licensed professional will conduct a hearing test to make sure these earbuds are appropriate. There's no word on pricing just yet, but the company says it's applying for approval under the FDA's self-fitting category. If you're looking for more of a true hearing aid rather than these "enhancers," Jabra also offers the Enhance Pro. It carries the more traditional behind-the-ear hearing aid design along with a charging case. It's also pricey, starting at $1,800.
If that's what you're after, the Bose SoundControl hearing aids went on sale in May, and as of last week, are available in all 50 states. That device puts the company's audio expertise to use to help you hear better, and Bose said it was the first FDA-cleared hearing aids that could be sold directly to consumers. What's more, they're more affordable at $850, but they run on the typical zinc-air batteries for hearing aids rather than being rechargeable.
Update 1:13PM ET: Bose SoundControl hearing aids are now available in all 50 states after a limited rollout at launch. This post has been updated to clarify that availability.