Hearable vs. Hearing Aid: Which is Better? 1

Written By Sydney St George audiologist Melody Cao  

In the dynamic landscape of hearing assistance technology, a prominent player has emerged in recent years: hearables such as AirPods Pro by Apple. Quite a few of my clients have inquired about the pros and cons of hearing aids and hearables. In the first part of the “Hearable vs. Hearing Aid: Which is Better?” blog post, I will talk about the pros and cons of hearables.




Multi-Functionality: Hearables are not just limited to hearing assistance; they often serve multiple functions, such as streaming music, making calls, and monitoring health metrics.


Affordability: Hearables usually cost only a fraction of the price of hearing aids, making them an attractive alternative for many potential consumers.


Aesthetically Appealing Design:Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with hearing aids, but not so with hearables. Hearables are not associated with hearing loss, and hence many people find them more cosmetically appealing than hearing aids, although many hearing aids are actually physically much smaller than hearables.



Specific Situations Only:Unlike hearing aids, which are designed for use throughout the day in all listening situations, hearables, although offering sound amplification and some even offering reasonable noise cancellation abilities such as the Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus, are not designed for all listening purposes.

Limited Personalisation: Unlike traditional hearing aids or over-the-counter hearing aids, hearables cannot be fully personalized to an individual's hearing loss. However, most of them allow you to adjust the settings.

Short Battery Life:The battery life of most hearables is shorter (typically only a few hours) compared to hearing aids, requiring more frequent recharging and also prohibiting all-day usage.

Occlusion Effect: One of the most common complaints I hear from hard-of-hearing people who use hearables as conversation enhancers is what is called the “occlusion effect.” Because the majority of people who feel hearables are sufficient to enhance other people’s conversations have reasonably good hearing in the low pitches, wearing hearables that block their ears tends to make their own voice unpleasantly echoey and boomy.


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