For all the buzz about OTC hearing aids, only a small number of brands managed to release an OTC product in 2022. You can see a complete list here.
One notable new brand to join the OTC party is Sontro OTC hearing aid. Sontro hearing aids come from a U.S.-based startup called Soundwave Hearing. The founding team has a long history in hearing health and hopes to bring that industry experience directly to the consumer through their new product.
I ordered a pair of the new Sontro OTC hearing aids to see the product for myself. In this review, I’ll recap the experience from unboxing to programming and my thoughts on overall quality.
First, some quick facts:
- Sontro OTC hearing aids are $999 per pair (significantly less than prescription devices and similar to other OTC leaders).
- These hearing aids sit behind the ear and come in grey or beige.
- The devices use disposable batteries that need to be changed every 5-7 days.
- Sontro hearing aids do not allow Bluetooth streaming.
- Sontro OTC Hearing Aids use the patented otoTune app to perform a hearing test to customize your hearing gaids to your specific hearing loss.
Sontro Hearing Aid Review - Prices, Features, App
Blake Cadwell is a hearing aid wearer and co-founder at Soundly. Soundly began as a passion project after Blake’s frustrating search for hearing aids. Blake regularly tests and reviews hearing technology to share his experience with Soundly’s readers.
Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.
Unboxing Sontro Hearing Aids
Sontro hearing aids come with free shipping and a 45-day money-back guarantee. Sontro hearing aids and accessories all come in a simple box.
The hearing aids are housed in a soft carry case with extra domes and a cleaning bush. The carry case isn’t quite as premium as the one that comes with Bose hearing aids, but it certainly gets the job done and has enough room to hold some extra batteries.
I was impressed at the compact size and simple design of these hearing aids. Each device has a built-in button that individually controls the volume of that hearing aid. You can currently order Sontro hearing aids in grey or beige.
Sontro Hearing Aid Size and Fit
The size impressed me so much that I pulled out some other hearing aids for a side-by-side comparison. From the look of it, Sontro might be the smallest OTC hearing aid that sits behind the ear.
The receiver wire is almost invisible, and the body of the hearing aid sits comfortably behind the ear.
Sontro hearing aids use a size 312 battery (available on Amazon or at most retailers). You will need to replace the battery every 5-7 days. Be sure to open the battery door anytime you aren't using the hearing aids. Opening the door turns off the hearing aid and saves battery.
Sontro Hearing Aid App
My next step was to connect the Sontro hearing aids to the otoTune app. You can search otoTune in the app store or follow the instructions in the quick start guide inside the box.
After a few welcome screens, the app will prompt you to connect your hearing aids. Note that you will need to place a battery in each hearing aid and close the door for this step to work.
Once the devices are connected to your app, you will want to place them in your ears for a hearing test.
The app has a nice built-in feature that measures the background noise in your environment. If you are in a loud location, it will prompt you to move somewhere else before proceeding with the test.
Once you begin, the app will play a series of sounds through your hearing aids. When you hear the sound in your right or left ear, you will tap R or L.
Once your hearing test is complete, you can move over to the “control” tab on the app to adjust the volume or programs.
Toggle from right to left to move from “automatic” to “quiet” and “noise”. You can make even more adjustments inside the “quiet” and “noise” modes using the equalizer.
For most listening environments, I used the automatic mode.
You are now ready to wear your hearing aids. You can re-take your test or make adjustments whenever you please.
Follow-Up Care and Customer Service
Customer care is an important factor in any hearing aid purchase decision.
SoundWave provides customer care via phone between 8:30 - 4:30 CT Monday - Friday. Note that SoundWave customer service teams cannot make remote adjustments to your hearing aids. They may be able to walk you through tech challenges or facilitate returns.
Sontro hearing aids come with a one-year warranty and 45-day free returns.
Sontro hearing aids come with a free one-month membership to Amptify. The membership includes coaching and educational content.
Sound Quality And Overall Thoughts
Sontro hearing aids are impressively small. I was impressed with the Sontro app's simplicity and the sound quality in quiet and low background noise situations. When I turned up the volume, I had some issues with feedback (squealing).
I'd bet Sontro will be in the OTC space for the long haul. The founders have decades of experience in hearing health, and the product will only get better with time.
Are Sontro hearing aids worth it?
Sontro is a good option for someone who wants the smallest behind-the-ear product possible and prefers to program their own devices. If you are looking for a reference point, Sontro is very similar in price and features to Lexie's range of hearing aids.
If you want a budget option with more hands-on audiology support, I suggest Jabra Enhance.
I hope you've found this review helpful. If you have tried Sontro hearing aids or have questions about my experience, drop me an email at [email protected].