Today (August 18, 2021) saw the launch of a brand-new category of hearing devices called “lifestyle devices,” championed by a brand-new product called the Jabra Enhance Plus.
It’s not the first time that a big brand has entered the hearing care market to try to offer a desirable solution to the estimated 18 million Americans with a mild-to-moderate untreated hearing loss, but given their reputation and what I’ve read in the press release, this particular product has caught my attention..
So, What Is the Jabra Enhance Plus and Why Is It Different?
The first thing to note is that this new product is not a replacement for traditional hearing aids and it’s not in competition with them – it’s specifically for people that have no greater than a mild-to-moderate hearing loss and are looking to improve their hearing ability in certain social settings while still enjoying the many benefits of a connected wireless earbud.
Jabra conducted in-depth research and learned that people wanted a simplified hearing aid that is a lower-cost and accessible alternative to hearing instruments, with hearing support being just one of many benefits.
Based on this research, they created the Jabra Enhance Plus with a promise of it being discreet, multi-functional, and delivering the benefits that younger people with active and modern needs have long been seeking.
With over-the-counter devices currently being a very hot topic following the recent executive order from President Biden adding pressure for affordable solutions being made available to even more Americans, this product is perhaps perfectly timed.
But Here Is the Most Important Part
The biggest difference between the Jabra Enhance Plus and some of the other readily available devices that are aggressively advertising is that Jabra ensures you make the right choice for your hearing by encouraging you to visit an experienced hearing care professional.
The reason that this is an essential part of the process is that they understand that the most important step in addressing any form of hearing challenge is that you first need to have a hearing assessment, in the same way that a complete eye exam would be your preferred option before determining your prescription for eye glasses.
With many other devices that only require self-diagnosing of your hearing loss through an app and programming your own devices, there are many risks, and as professionals, we would advise away from any solution that is selling you a product before understanding your own unique circumstances.
Attempting to self-diagnose is risky business, and there are many scenarios where self-diagnosis has resulted in significant long-term damage being caused.
We test many ears each week and we often meet people who believe that they have a hearing loss that either don’t or the cause is something other than hearing loss, such as a buildup of earwax or a more complicated medical concern.
Who Is Likely to Get the Most Out of These Devices?
They have been specifically designed for the 18 million of us who have an untreated hearing loss but are not quite ready for hearing aids, including people of all ages (except children).
Based on Jabra’s research, they learned that a large majority of people wanted a lower-cost and accessible alternative to hearing instruments, with hearing support being just one of many benefits.
Of course, there are other factors that Jabra has considered, including the real concerns people have about the appearance of hearing aids, which is why this new product has been built around this research with hearing support, music, and phone calls all seamlessly working through a stylish earphone-like earbud instead of a hearing aid design.
The outcome of this is that these devices are mainly for people that:
- Acknowledge a hearing loss but are looking for support in certain situations only
- Want a discreet but visible product in non-traditional form factor
- Don’t want a traditional hearing aid but do want the comfort of medical technology & backup support
- Want a multi-functional and easy-to-use affordable device
- Would like others to believe they’re wearing an earphone, when in reality, it’s helping them to hear
We are hopeful that these devices and others like this will start to normalize the treatment of hearing loss and give confidence to more people so that they don’t have to struggle as much as they do now.
In my opinion, this product would be great for people in West Texas who want to:
- Enjoy the sound of nature on hikes and walks
- Listen to presenters at meetings and conferences
- Try to cut through the background noise in crowded venues
- Focus on what their friends and family are saying in social scenarios
- Better communicate with servers when discussing menu choices
- Maximize interactions at the next Raiders game
- Engage in video conferences and Zoom meetings
- And much more
They’re aimed at assisting in certain situations, not being a long-term hearing loss solution – being ideal for people with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss that just need a helping hand, as well as a stylish earbud that offers additional capabilities.
Is the Jabra Enhance Plus Expensive?
At this time, it’s unknown as there’s been no announced cost. The general expectation is that these will be priced slightly more than premium headphones and slightly less than entry-level hearing aids.
Based on this, we’re predicting around $1000. But at this stage, it’s all speculation.
Would You Like My Professional Opinion on These Devices?
My opinion and advice as a Doctor of Audiology is to see a local professional if you notice you are having problems hearing. The first step in at least knowing all of your options is to have a hearing assessment.
A quality hearing check up by a Doctor of Audiology should include many aspects of testing so that we are able to determine exactly where the problem lies. A simple solution may be in order or a medical referral may be needed.
Should a hearing device be necessary, proper education for all options available and what is included with each treatment plan is important.
Many patients focus on simply purchasing a device when they have a hearing problem and don’t understand the journey of walking through hearing loss on a daily basis with a trusted professional.
Treating a hearing loss requires much more than a hearing aid.
Interested in Trialing the Jabra Enhance Plus?
Great! We know all about it. Give us a call and let us check your hearing first, and will make sure you are a good candidate (for mild to moderate loss only). At that point, we will show you how it all works and get you out in the world to see if it gets the job done!
We love the idea of treating a hearing loss as early as possible, and this just may be what our younger patients with hearing loss needed to get the ball rolling toward better hearing!