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If you've spent much time on this blog, you'll know I spend my time reviewing, hearing products, and speaking to industry experts.
Over the last few months, I've heard rumblings that the iconic audio brand Sennheiser might be dreaming up a competitor to new over-the-counter hearing aids from Jabra, Sony, and Bose.
This week those rumors became a reality with the launch of Sennheiser's Conversation Clear Plus. Sennheiser isn't technically calling their new product a hearing aid, but critical features, the chip inside the device, and even the product name make the hearing health implications very clear.
Why would Sennheiser release a hearing aid after 70 years on the hearing health sideline? Good question.
Let's get into it.
Sennheiser Hearing Aid Review - Prices, Features, Surprises
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What do Sennheiser and hearing aids have to do with each other?
Sennheiser is best known for headphones, sound bars, and professional audio equipment for musicians, so why would they jump into the health space?
Simple. Their new owners want them to.
The largest hearing health company in the world, Sonova, wrapped up an acquisition of Sennheiser in March of 2022. Sonova's CEO said in public comments:
"Combining our market-leading technology with the strong brand and well-established distribution network of Sennheiser creates a strong foundation for future growth."
Pretty clear that the Sonova CEO has his sights set on the growing U.S. market for sound enhancing earbuds and OTC hearing aids.
What do we know about Conversation Clear Plus?
Conversation Clear Plus went on sale in January 2023 and is available at select retailers like Crutchfield.
We've spent time reviewing the product and sifting through other user reviews. Here are the key product takeaways:
- Conversation Clear Plus allows audio streaming or conversation boost.
- The devices have three modes - “relax” allows you to customize your background noise level or cut out background noise with active noise cancelation, “communication” focuses on voices and speech around you, “streaming” allows for music, podcasts etc.
- Conversation Clear Plus uses a Sonova chip which likely means sophisticated sound quality in background noise. Sennheiser explains that Conversation Clear Plus uses the Sonova chip for “Automatic Scene Detection” which gives the devices the information they need to boost speech sounds in noisy environments.
- The product offers 9 hours of battery life per wear and comes with a portable recharge case (similar to Airpods or other leading headphones).
Will hearing aids from Sennheiser good?
- Sennheiser hearing aids offer clear, smooth music-streaming sound quality.
- The devices are larger than traditional hearing aids, but comfortable
- The devices offer strong directionality and help cut down background noise
- Conversation Clear Plus will not replace hearing aids.
- We put the product in a test box and could not get significant amplification.
- The devices are on the larger side
- Conversation clear plus is a premium product at a premium price point .
Ultimately these new devices from Sennheiser get good marks for quality and sound but they probably won't replace your all-day hearing aids any time soon.
One big bonus...
Sennheiser offers a special TV streaming package that could be a real boost for anyone looking to hear their favorite TV show without waking the house.