Smartphone-Controlled Hearing Aids from Bose

May 14, 2021

Thanks to smartphones and Bose, it’s getting easier to hear. 

Behind heart disease and arthritis, hearing loss is the third most common health complaint in the U.S. About 48 million people deal with hearing loss, many waiting as much as 10 years from when they first experience symptoms to seek treatment, often due to barriers such as price and having to see a doctor to get help or hearing aids.

In response, Bose has just had a new hearing aid approved for use by the FDA called SoundControl. The popular manufacturer of speakers and headphones has channeled its audio technology into creating a hearing aid that can be controlled by an app on the user’s smartphone. Made for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, the new hearing aids from Bose are available without a prescription.

"The Bose Hear app lets owners set up and customize their SoundControl hearing aids from home – in less than an hour – to reconnect with the moments that matter,” said Bose Hear category director Brian Maguire. “That's an amazing advancement the industry has been missing and nothing short of a breakthrough."

As of May 2021, SoundControl hearing aids are available for purchase in Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Montana and Massachusetts.

Pairing the hearing aid with the smartphone makes it possible for the user to program, fit and control their hearing aid themselves. It makes it easier to fine-tune background noise, amplify quiet sounds, and create personalized profiles that they can save for future use. For example, users can have a profile for listening to concerts or movies that are notoriously loud or for speaking on the phone when the volume will need to be turned up. In a recent clinical study, participants who were able to program their own sound preferences preferred them to the ones set up by audiologists.

Although Bose may be one of the most recognizable brands to join the direct-to-consumer hearing aid market, there are several others that have also jumped on the bandwagon in recent years, including Olive Pro, Eargo and Whisper.